PETALING JAYA: The Federal Government has opted for the Perdana Replacement Model (PRM), reversing a plan to replace its ageing fleet of Proton Perdana Executive cars with the Honda Accord.
Sources said Proton had been given the green light to continue with its plans for the PRM, which is expected to be unveiled by December.
It is understood that the PRM would be based on the Honda Accord’s chassis and Proton would do a rebadging exercise including cosmetic and specification changes, similar to the previous changes to the Proton Inspira, which is essentially a Mitsubishi Lancer.
However, the sources said Proton had other plans with a Phase 2 that entails a complete change of outlook and engine to be unveiled in 2015.
The new Honda Accord is priced from RM139,000 onwards and the new PRM is expected to be priced more or less the same.
Earlier this year, the Government was said to have opted for the Honda Accord as Proton could not deliver the PRM in time to replace the ageing fleet.
The Government was said to have made an initial order of 350 units of the Honda Accord.
Two weeks ago, Proton’s management, namely executive chairman Tan Sri Mohd Khamil Jamil, managed to persuade the Government to keep the PRM plan.
Industry observers said Proton would lose out on its brand presence if the Government opted for Honda, as official cars were used for numerous high-profile events.
The sources said the PRM might not drive volume for Proton but it could build up brand recognition if executed well, as it would be the top of the line model for the national car maker.
The Perdana was launched in 1999 and followed by several facelifts until 2003. Since then, there has been a void in the market for the model that would replace it.
Proton has yet to respond to queries from The Star as at press time.