KUALA LUMPUR: Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad hopes the collaboration between Proton Holdings Bhd and Zhejiang Geely Holdings Group (Proton-Geely) collaboration will produce a truly Malaysian car in the future.

Since teaming up with Geely, Proton has made progress including the launch of its first sport utility vehicle, the X70.

“Of course this car is not designed and built by Proton entirely but in order to be fast on the road, you have to cut corners,“ he said after launching the model’s four variants here tonight.

Present was Minister of International Trade and Industry Datuk Darell Leiking and Proton Chief Executive Officer Dr Li Chunrong.

However, Mahathir said Proton should continue to make progress and participate in developing new models.

The prime minister said probably the collaboration could start with the designing in Malaysia, move on to modelling and others which would then see a 100% Malaysian car completely undertaken in Malaysia with Geely supporting the venture all the way.

“I’m quite sure in the future we are going to see a lot more designs and models which will make Malaysia proud,“ he added.

Mahathir is confident the introduction of the X70 would continue to enhance Proton’s recovery.

Meanwhile, DRB-Hicom Bhd Group Managing Director Datuk Seri Syed Faisal Albar Syed Ali Rizal Albar was optimistic the X70 would be “the point of redemption for Proton”.

“This is the turning point where the fortune of Proton will reverse in favour,“ he said.

Describing the car as Malaysia’s first full Internet car, Syed Faisal Albar said the car was equipped with mobile communication technology, an advanced Integrated Cockpit Information System which offered multiple user functions, as well as, the ability to stay connected to a mobile device.

“Featuring an embedded eSIM card, the system is preloaded with four apps offering services such as online music streaming, navigation, weather forecast and voice recognition,“ he said.

The car is priced at RM99,800 for standard 2 wheel drive (2WD), RM109,800 for executive 2WD, RM115,800 for executive all wheel drive and RM123,800 for premium 2WD.

The price is also applicable for Sabah and Sarawak.

In conjunction with the launch, Proton is also offering special value added packages which include free parts and labour for the first service, as well as, free labour for five scheduled service appointments within 100,000km or five years.

Proton would also offer low interest rates starting from 2.34% per annum for qualified buyers, unlimited mileage warranty for up to five years and 1 gigabite monthly Internet data for five years. — Bernama