Goodbye, Proton; Hello, Bao Teng and Malaysian-made Flying Cars
The new CEO of Proton has been making waves with his almost daily stream of announcements, but one of the most recent concerning the name of Proton itself has somewhat slipped under the radar in Malaysia, the home of Proton.
Li Chun Rong, the new CEO of Proton, has announced that in the future, the name of Proton will become Bao Teng and no longer Pu Teng, at least for Chinese consumers that is. The name change is in effect just for car buyers in China where Proton had been known as Pu Teng; this name sort of means ‘ordinary’ but by changing the Pu to Bao, the name will become ‘treasure’.
Li believes that Malaysia should be proud of Proton, even though of late the market share of the national car has fallen to 13% of the Malaysian market, a situation which precipitated the takeover of the previously State-owned manufacturer by Chinese privateer, Zhejiang Geely Holding Group. There has been a raft of announcements by the new management team that claim they will launch a full-sized SUV by the end of the second quarter in 2018, along with two additional models. All three are likely to be rebadged and locally assembled Geely offerings, but other than the SUV, which is believed to be the Geely Boyue, there has not been any announcement or media leak on the other two.
They have got their work cut out for them, though, as currently the Proton service experience for customer satisfaction ranks at the bottom of the pile in Malaysia. Li believes that this could take up to two years to resolve but is currently in the process of closing all Proton Edar branches and encouraging some of the better preforming 4S service centres to open additional outlets.
There are rumours that Proton will rapidly phase out its current line-up of models and replace them with vehicles that perhaps have more recent and up-to-date designs and engines. Li believes that Proton will be at the forefront of new technology and has vowed to introduce fully electronic cars and even a flying car before the end of 2019. We can but wait and see.
Zhejiang Geely Holding Group just recently purchased Terrafugia Inc., which makes flying cars. Image credit: terrafugia.com