SHAH ALAM, Jan 18, 2016:

Proton Holdings Bhd today unveiled its RM600 million research and development programme of its latest powertrain — the global standard “turbo gasoline direct injection (TGDI)” engine.

It is being developed under a tri-partite collaboration with Ricardo plc and Lotus Group.

Proton chairman Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad symbolically officiated the first firing test on the engine, which was made via a live telecast from Ricardo’s facilities in Shoreham by the Sea, England, with the company’s engineers who had been working on the project.

The development programme is led by Proton’s project manager, chief technical officer Abdul Rashid Musa.

Abdul Rashid explained from the Ricardo site that the programme would take 40 months to complete the six variants of the engines, with the first variant to be launched after 30 months by end-2017.

At a press conference here after the event, Dr Mahathir said Ricardo was picked for its capabilities.

“We hope this engine will perform well and meet the Euro standards so that Proton can be sold again in the UK.

“We have not been selling cars in the UK for quite some time simply because our current engine does not perform to the standard imposed by the UK and Europe,” said Dr Mahathir.

Chief executive officer Datuk Abdul Harith Abdullah said the new engines would allow Proton to penetrate the export market.

“The cars will be compliant with the regulations and legislation that require the vehicles to comply with the low emission level of Euro 6c and low carbon dioxide CO2 figures post-2020.

“The Proton engineers had worked on the programme since March 2015 in providing the right inputs, making decisions on our requirements, actively involved in the design and analyses of the engines and the production of the prototype,” said Harith.

He said 200 engineers were involved in the development of six variants of the engines, ranging from 1,000-1,500 cc over three years.

“The TGDI and GDI engines will be more efficient, producing an average of 25% lower fuel consumption and up to 20% higher performance.

“They will be available in all Proton cars from 2018 onwards.”

On Proton’s financial performance, Harith said, it should be on the right track to profitability in the financial years 2016 and 2017, driven by launches of new models and its transformation plan introduced in 2012.

On the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA), Harith said, Proton was still talking to the government.

“We need to clarify some issues because our objectives are to protect our business and employees.”

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