Al-Haj Automotive having teamed up with Malaysian automaker Proton is in process of introducing a range of vehicles in Pakistan. As reported earlier, the company will begin its operations with the launch of 1.3 liter Saga sedan followed by the introduction of X70 SUV.
Now as per latest information exclusively received by CarSpiritPK, the Saga sedan for Pakistan will get a slightly downsized engine specifically to secure tax benefits. Originally the Proton Saga comes equipped with a 1332cc DOHC VVT engine that produces 94hp of power and 120Nm of torque, however the ones especially made for Pakistan will get a 1299cc engine under the hood. This is because tax structure for 1300cc & above cars is different and staying below 1300 would help the company in pricing the sedan lower and will also help them to gain consumer interest due to a lower tax bracket.
As per information, the Saga will be initially imported as CBU whereas the local assembled units will likely roll off the line from 2021 in Proton’s assembly plant that is being constructed in Karachi. With an initial investment of US$30 million and a targeted capacity of 25,000 units a year, the plant would also create around 2,000 direct jobs and 20,000 indirect jobs through other areas such as local vendors.
Additionally the Saga, which will be the latest facelift model that has seen tremendous success in Malaysia, will have Hyundai-sourced 4-speed automatic transmission alongside the regular 5-speed manual. Although the gearbox is sourced from Hyundai, the programming and testing is said to have been done by Proton’s own engineering team. Bear in mind the pre-facelift models that were seen testing in our country earlier had a CVT.
Like Saga, the X70 SUV is also going to be tailored specifically to suit Pakistani market. As reported earlier, the Proton X70 for Pakistani market will get a 1.5 liter turbocharged engine instead of the originally deployed 1.8 liter turbo engine.
This also goes to show that Proton is taking Pakistani market quite seriously and instead of just launching ready-made products, the company is working on to correspond to market dynamics and consumer preferences and is customizing its product range to help vie against the existing competition.
Development of the new 1299cc engine is expected to complete by May 2020 after which it will be ready for mass production, whereas formal launch of both Saga sedan and X70 SUV in Pakistan is expected towards the second half of this year. Stay tuned to CarSpiritPK for more information on Proton cars in Pakistan.