KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) — Malaysian national car maker Proton has launched its first sports utility vehicle in a bid to turn around its fortunes, more than a year after China’s Geely Holding Group Co. Ltd. bought a key stake in the company.
Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad launched the 1.8 liter-engine X70 late Wednesday and expressed hopes for Proton’s recovery.
The X70 is based on Geely’s Boyue vehicle, which is one of China’s best-selling SUVs. It is priced competitively from 99,800 ringgit (,800) to 123,800 ringgit (,540).
Proton once was king of Malaysia’s roads but its sales have suffered due to growing competition and a reputation for poor quality and bland models. Proton was privatized in 2012 and Geely bought a 49.9 percent stake in June last year.