At the Honda Malaysia 'Media Appreciation' event that took place on Thursday (Feb 20th), the issue about the recent move by Honda to release their 'old' previous 8Gen Accord to Malaysian car-maker Proton to make what is effectively a re-badged 8Gen Accord into a Proton 'Perdana' was raised to the Honda Malaysia management during the press conference. In the free-time after the conference, I took a chance to catch up with an old friend in Honda Malaysia to discuss further and fully understand Honda Malaysia's official response from the press conference.
I highlighted that based on interactions with Honda enthusiast, Honda's move to release the 8Gen Accord to Proton was held with very low regards. There have been outright criticism and I myself knows of a few real cases where people planning to buy either a used 8Gen Accord or even a new 9Gen Accord cancelled their plans immediately when Proton announced the 'new' Perdana.
What I was told was intriguing. Basically I was told that the 3,000 units of 'Perdana' for government use is all that will happen. But what about the announcement by Proton that they plan to release a new Perdana to the public in a couple of years time ? Honda Malaysia says that as far as they are concerned, any such 'new' Perdana will be really a new Perdana, no longer a simple re-badge of their 8Gen Accord. It was said so but I got the impression that a request was made to HQ regarding this. However, under the collaboration, they do not discount the possibility of Proton using the 8Gen Accord as a platform to develop their new Perdana. But they are insistent that it will NOT simply be a re-badged 8Gen Accord.
Is this news any better ? I am in two minds about it myself. In truth, the 'previous' generation Proton Perdana was simply a re-skinned and de-spec'ed Mitsubishi Eterna. It might not be public knowledge but all car enthusiast worth their salt knows this. Similarly Proton's other models like the Wira and even the Savvy are re-skinned and often de-spec'ed versions of other manufacturer's car. So even if Proton is to develop their own 2G Perdana, if they are using the 8Gen Accord as the development platform, then there will be great similarities judging from known efforts. Of course chances are the engines will be replaced by Proton's own 'CPE' engines though they now also offers some form of variable valve timing.