Perodua is using the KL International Motor Show 2013 (KLIMS13) to give Malaysians a glimpse of two possible future models and by doing so, collect feedback which will help the designers to refine the future products to real customer needs and expectations.

The first one is the Buddyz concept car which has a sedan form, a bodystyle which Perodua has not produced before. There was a cleverly photoshopped Perodua ‘Jaguh’ – looking very convincing on what was claimed to be a leaked leaflet – circulating earlier this year but the creator of that model, Theophilus Chin, clarified that it was just one of his many creations and that there was no basis for such a variant of the Myvi other than rumours.

Buddyz Concept looks more 'production-friendly' than the Bezza concept (below) which was shown in 2010

Unlike the Bezza concept which was shown at KLIMS 2010, the Buddyz looks much more ‘production-possible’ as it has more manufacturing-friendly body panels. When asked about how serious Perodua is about producing a sedan, the company’s President, Datuk Aminar Rashid Salleh said with his usual smile: “Wait and see…”. Usually, that sort of response would mean that something is being developed, otherwise there would be a quick and flat ‘no’.

Perodua can now consider producing a sedan because its in-house capabilities have reached a substantial level where Malaysians can handle the design and engineering aspects of the upper body (the bodyshell). The company has adhered to the process of learning managed by its partner, Daihatsu, which requires expertise to be gained without rushing.

Unlike some other companies which may start off learning and then imagine they are ‘world-class’ and claim to be a full-fledged carmaker within a short time, Perodua has patiently learnt its lessons – focussing on quality as well – and now that it has enough expertise, it can design what it needs if Daihatsu doesn’t have such a variant. The Japanese carmaker has no sedan in its line-up to share with Perodua and even when it has needed a sedan for the domestic market, it has adapted a Toyota model for the purpose.

The platform is likely to be from Daihatsu as this is a more advanced area of car development. Perodua will certainly acquire the capability to do a platform one day but for now, it makes more sense to share a platform with Daihatsu. Even the big players share platforms because it is a very costly element to develop.

The interior is futuristic, as concept cars usually are, and what you see is unlikely to be what you will get in the production model. It is more of a 3D presentation of the interior designers’ ideas and what can be discerned is that the dashboard theme will be one which gives a sense of spaciousness to the cabin with its dominant horizontal flow.

The exterior styling elements at the front are an evolution of that seen on the Bezza concept three years ago. They are probably ideas which are being explored and Perodua’s designers will be listening to what the public says about them. They would certainly welcome comments from anyone on the design of the Buddyz so if you have something to say, do let them know.

Understanding that even while it is No.1 in Malaysia today, its future success is not assured and it has to look at exports to gain greater volumes. So the Buddyz is also intended for the global market and will be engineered accordingly where emissions and safety are concerned.

Talking of emissions, at the Perodua stand, visitors will also see a powertrain on display and this is a 12-valve 1-litre all-aluminium engine with a manual or automatic transmission. What we can be sure of is that the automatic transmission will be an electronically-controlled type and will come from the factory which is now under construction near Seremban, Negeri Sembilan, and should begin operations in the near future. The engine will also be tuned for Euro4 emission standards so it can be used in export models.

Global Model A (GMA concept)

While many may have their attention on the attractive model at the other concept car known as the GMA Space Concept (GMA refers to ‘Global Model A’, which is probably a reference to the A-segment), do look closely at the shape of this concept which is shown in outline with some cabin details.

Rumours are that the shape is close to that of a future model and Perodua is known to give this type of preview because back in 2000, they previewed the Kelisa as the X-690 concept and then in 2006, the XX-06 concept was actually a preview of the Viva, and in 2010, they also showed the outline of the Myvi 2 like a mould.

Concept models shown in 2010 (above) and 2000 and 2006 (below left and right) were sneak previews of actual models but the public didn't realise it then

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[Chips Yap]

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