Malaysia’s Proton Teases Customers at Autobinee Oriental, Penang with its SUV

Proton teased customers at Autobinee Oriental, Penang last weekend, where its upcoming SUV was displayed to eager patrons.

Although camouflaged and with a left-hand drive transmission, the SUV was brought into the showroom where many were waiting in anticipation to get a glimpse of what Proton has to offer.

The yet to be named SUV (there’s a contest to name it), scheduled to be launched sometime in the fourth quarter, looks impressive. We hear there will be about 70 components that need to be changed, since it is a left-hand drive vehicle.

This SUV looks big and it IS big. Not in a way that overwhelms you, but good enough to provide a high riding position with a muscular stance. No confirmed details were given, but it is highly likely to carry on from the Geely Boyue, on which it is based, by having a six-speed automatic 1.8-litre turbo mill tranny that cranks out 185 PS and 285 Nm of torque.

The display unit has a sunroof but due to our climate, Proton is still mulling the idea of having it in the SUV. The interior has a minimalist look to it. The dashboard is pleasing to the eye with not much clutter.

The seats are extremely comfy and when you’re travelling to any corner of the country, it definitely makes the drive much more comfortable.

While we were there, we managed to speak to Michael Yoong, who is the Service Manager at Autobinee Oriental Sdn Bhd :

A: Could you tell us a bit about Autobinee? How it started?
M: Autobinee started in the 50s. Our boss, Mr. Yap, first started as a used-car dealer and over the years, expanded into several businesses, one of which I’m spearheading—the service side of things, in which we are a full-fledged Proton 3S centre.

A: How long have you been working here?
M: I have been here since March 2017, slightly more than a year. The service outlet started in 2014—that’s more than four years ago.

A: And how many staff do you oversee?
M: Right now, I have 3 service advisers, 5 mechanics and of course an admin staff.

A: What about the sales department?
M: They are about 8 sales advisers, with 2 administrative personnel, plus the Sales Manager.

A: Any plans of expansion for Autobinee?
M: Yes, definitely. Proton would like to see us fulfilling the needs of the customers better, so on our end, we are increasing our hoists to six from four. We are doing renovation at the back and having it fully covered as we have some space at the back. We also intend to have a walkway to help customers go from showroom to the service area with ease.

A: Your best-selling models are the Saga and Persona, correct?
M: Yes, you’re right. We do have other models selling well but the Saga and Persona are the largest slice of the pie. Our customers are the backbone and with our aftersales service package, we intend to keep them satisfied for the long run, if they deal with us.

A: Give us your take on the impending launch of Proton’s first SUV.
M: Well, I think that is a very good smart partnership that is going to revolutionize the Proton brand and to be honest, yes, Proton did suffer a dip. But with the government’s help and new technology from Geely, I believe Proton is on the right path

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