NATIONAL car manufacturer Proton Holdings Berhad today initiated the firing of its latest powertrain, the 1.5-litre turbocharged gasoline direct injection (TGDI) engine, in England.
The occasion was held in a facility owned by Ricardo, a global engineering, strategic and environmental consultancy based in England, and also a technical partner of Proton in the powertrain development project.
It is understood that the technologically advanced engine has been developed since March 2015 and is expected to be delivered to the Malaysian car market by 2018.
Cars Bikes Trucks noted that the project required a capital expenditure of about RM600 million.
The duration of the major project is estimated to be 10 months for design, analysis and prototype built-up. Another 14 months will be spent transferring the engine to Proton’s own facilities in Lotus. The TGDI/GDI engines will be further tested in Proton’s plant in Shah Alam beginning September this year.
Six series of engines have been identified for development: 1.0-litre three-cylinder VVT, 1.2-litre three-cylinder VVT, 1.3-litre four-cylinder GDI, 1.3-litre four-cylinder TGDI, 1.5-litre four-cylinder GDI and 1.5-litre four-cylinder TGDI.
The engines are expected to perform “20 percent higher” than the existing line in Proton’s portfolio and produce a claimed average of 25 percent lower fuel consumption.
What this means for the Malaysian automotive industry
Fierce competition among global original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) in Malaysia and the current financial and economic situation faced by the market have taken a toll on the national car industry.
The latest development of powertrains from Proton could give the company’s business a boost and would then allow their products to be more competitive and comparable to those made by the OEMs.
Furthermore, Proton would be able to extend its footprint to more prominent international markets, including the United Kingdom, as the engines will be in compliant with the regulations and legislations in major countries where vehicles are required to meet Euro 6C emission standards.
What else is in store for 2016
Proton chairman Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad revealed that the group will launch three models this year, as opposed to its old tradition of releasing “one model every three years.”