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Proton pushes for new engines, including diesel

Power to be: Proton is set to introduce an upgraded Campro engine, but wants a partner to build bigger petrol engines - and a diesel.

Proton looks for diesel and petrol engine partners while further developing Campro

8 Apr 2008

PROTON has announced it wants to team up with other manufacturers to deliver more potent petrol engines, and to introduce diesel technology.

Proton Holdings Bhd managing director, Datuk Syed Zainal, has announced the company is working on its own engines, but is also looking at sourcing them from other car-makers.

“Work is under way to explore the development of high-performance 1.8- and 2.0-litre engines, and we are also in talks with several foreign parties and will announce something by mid-year,” Mr Zainal said.

“Going forward, the next generation and higher segment (Proton) cars will need 1.8- and a 2.0-litre powerplants as well as a diesel." GoAuto understands Proton is in discussions with Mitsubishi, Renault and Nissan regarding engine supply.

Larger petrol engines would also allow Proton to work on bigger vehicles. It has announced a new mini people-mover which will be introduced next year, although it is not yet clear which engine it will use.

While Malaysia is not a strong market for diesel, Mr Zainal said Proton must embrace diesel technology for export markets in order to remain competitive.

“A lot of markets are migrating from petrol to diesel and it is important for Proton not to be left behind,” he said.

“New export markets that we want to penetrate, like India and China, have high demand for diesel and for us not to have diesel engines incorporated in our cars would be a mistake.” Engines that make up the current Proton line-up include its own 1.6-litre Campro engine, which is developed with Lotus, and a 1.2-litre four-cylinder sourced from Renault.

Proton is developing variable-valve timing and a variable-intake manifold that will lift power output of its 1.6-litre Campro engine by 20 to 25 per cent.

 center imageLeft: R3 Satria.

It will introduce the new engine on high-end models in Malaysia next year, although Proton Australia has not yet decided whether it will take the new powerplant, which is expected to be more expensive that the standard engine.

One engine Proton Australia is keen to take is a turbocharged version of the 1.6-litre Campro which is now under development in Malaysia.

Currently, the naturally aspirated engine produces 82kW, but the turbocharger would boost that to around 110kW.

GoAuto understands the turbo engine has not yet been given the official green light, but that a decision is not far away.

While it could be used for the Gen.2, Persona or Satria, Proton Australia is keen to introduce an R3 version of the Satria hatch with the boosted engine.

With the more potent engine, the new car would compete against other hot hatches including the Volkswagen Polo GTi and Ford Fiesta XR4, with a price somewhere between $25,000 and $35,000.

Proton Australia is keen to tap into the cult appeal of the previous-generation Satria GTi, which has been one of the brand’s biggest stars since it arrived in Australia.

The company presented a heavily modified R3 Satria at the Melbourne International Motor Show in March, but did not discuss the boosted engine.

If a hot Satria model does make it into production, the car will be called R3, after Proton’s in-house tuning centre, rather than GTi.

In other news, Proton Australia has announced a new dealership in Maroochydore, Queensland, to be run by the Pickering Automotive Group.

Proton’s Australian dealer network currently stands at 42.

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