According to sources familiar with the matter, Proton’s line-up could be filled with even more SUVs in the future, as the company is in the midst of trademarking names like Proton X80 and Proton X90.
Yes, Proton has even trademarked the Proton X80 name – one that is actually unfamiliar to many Malaysians.
So, what is the Proton X80?
Looking at Geely’s extensive portfolio of SUVs, it’s actually a bit hard to discern which model would the Proton X80 be based on.
Also Read: Beyond the Proton X50 and X70, here is Geely's complete range of SUVs
One such candidate is the Geely Xingyue L, which is priced between CNY 137,200 (~RM 90k) to CNY 185,200 (~RM121k).
The other possible candidate is the Geely Xingyue, itself priced from CNY 127,800 (~RM 83k) to CNY 187,800 (~RM 123k).
The Xingyue and Xingyue L is about 30% to 40% more expensive than Boyue, which Malaysians know as the Proton X70 (RM 94,800 to RM 122,800). Assuming the same price gap is applied to Malaysia, the price is a bit too high for the Proton brand (in its current state) to support.
Also Read: Up close and personal with the 2021 Geely Xingyue L at the Shanghai Auto Show!
A more reasonable explanation would be that the X80 trademark is just a smokescreen, don't read too much into it. Proton, like any other manufacturer, is trademarking the name to prevent complications if other manufacturers want to use a similar name. It does not necessarily mean that Proton will adopt this name for a new model.
Then what about the Proton X90?
At the moment, all signs for the Proton X90 point towards the Geely Haoyue. In fact, the Geely Haoyue has been spotted in Malaysia, thus adding more credence to this theory.
To refresh, the Geely Haoyue is a large-sized SUV that was launched in China early last year. Geely offers the Haoyue with a host of options, including a five- and seven-seater configuration. The top-spec Haoyue offers a massive 60-inch panoramic sunroof, though we don’t expect this to be offered on the Malaysian-spec car, owing to how hot it can get in these parts of the planet.
Also Read: Spied: 2021 Geely Haoyue spotted on Malaysian roads - Proton X90 is real after all?
For the China market, power is derived from a turbocharged 1.8-litre four-cylinder petrol engine that outputs 184 PS and 300 Nm. Drive is routed to the front wheels via a six-speed torque converter automatic or a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic. The Malaysian-spec Proton X90 should mirror this powertrain.
Also Read: China-spec Geely Haoyue to get new looks, could preview the Proton X90
Although the Proton X90 is physically larger than the Proton X70 in every aspect, it cannot be priced too far from the Proton X70, as the model isn’t quite as upmarket as Geely portrays it to be.
Also Read: 2022 Proton X90 could be priced cheaper than expected, but not necessarily in a good way
Unlike other recently-launched Geely models, the Haoyue is not developed on the BMA or CMA platform, but rather a curiously-named CV platform. The CV platform made its debut on the Geely Jiaji.
While the CV platform is newer than the Boyue's NL3 platform (Boyue was launched in 2016), it is not as sophisticated as the Binyue / X50's BMA platform.
Also Read: Proton X90, yet another Proton SUV? Why is Proton saying no Geely sedans?
Following the launch of the 2022 Proton Persona, the next immediate launch from Proton will be the Proton X90. After all, the Geely Haoyue / Proton X90 has been spotted in Malaysia.
Apart from that, it's too early to conclude about the Geely Xingyue and Xingyue L, as both models are much more expensive. Just because Proton trademarked the X80 name, it does not mean much.
Our sources told us that there are no plans for a new Proton sedan, apart from facelifted models like the Proton Persona. This is primarily because sedans are a diminishing market segment.