Malaysia’s Proton in Major Recall

The Malaysian homegrown car manufacturer, Proton, has announced its biggest recall to date after it finally admitted to a problem with the oil cooling system in almost 95,000 of its vehicles. The recall affects all vehicles with the Proton CFE engine – the hot-running engine becomes prone to developing blocked oil lines and ruptured oil hoses after about 40,000 kilometres of driving.

Speaking at a press briefing, Abdul Harith, Proton’s CEO, said that the oil hoses would break down after approximately 40,000 kilometres, leading to engine overheating and that a total of 94,577 vehicles had been sold with this potential fault. Priority would be given to those vehicles approaching 40,000 kilometres and the automaker hopes that all vehicles – including cars outside of warranty as well – will be modified within the next six months. No mention was given about compensating drivers who had already suffered a breakdown because of the failure of the hose.

The cost of the recall is estimated by Harith to be about MYR2 million (approx. US$500,000), which is relatively cheap by industry standards.

“We don’t want our customers to go to some workshop under a cherry tree to get their car fixed, only to be cheated and pay high prices. We want them to come back to us. We are aware of the severity of where Proton stands today and although we may have improved ourselves in many small ways, we know very well that we cannot be complacent,” said Harith.

In an infographic on the company’s website, the primary cause of the failure seems to be laid firmly at the feet of the “lubrication chemical properties turn to acidic”. Oil turns acidic due to the oxidation process, which is a subject we have written about in previous articles, a problem that the Malaysian marketplace has been aware of for some time. Many of the dealers in the Proton network had resorted to using X-1R Engine Treatment as a method of increasing the lifespan of the oil used in standard CFE engines to guard against the formation of sludge in the engine. (Read: Sludge, the Engine Killer.)

Recalls should not be seen as a negative issue as it is very much a sign that the manufacturer is being responsible and honest about their products and, hopefully, a sign that Proton is well on its way to regaining public confidence in its products. Well, at least, in their home market.

image: The Star

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