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How Proton’s R&D helped improve the safety of the X50 and future Geely models

· Industry Updates

To many, the Proton X50 is just a Geely Binyue re-badging exercise. While it may be accurate to some point, it also does not do justice to the amount of work that the research and development teams of Proton have put into the vehicle. The improvements on the safety front of the Proton X50 are crucial among them, so that these updates are also being introduced in future Geely models as well.

The adaptation of a car from left-hand drive to right-hand drive (or vice versa) also poses some minor but important problems, some of which remain unnoticed unless examined by a keen eye. For Proton, this role falls under the watchful eyes of Zanita Zainuddin, Proton's head of Safety and Intelligent Drive, in terms of safety.

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For example, her team's initial development tests also found tearing in frontal collisions in the front floorboard area in Proton's efforts to obtain a complete five-star ASEAN-NCAP safety rating for the X50. In the ASEAN-NCAP qualification, this is unacceptable as the guidelines are extremely strict on tears that affect the area of the feet.

Proton engineers had to improve these areas with ultra-high-strength steel as a solution, thus moving the impact force to other areas that do not pose a danger to the protection of occupants. Overall, a combination of high-strength steel variants was used to make 40% of the body, including the front, side, and back.

Besides, the footrest for the Proton X50 had to be adjusted to ensure that the foot stays on the footrest, with minimum slippage, to protect the driver's resting foot from unnecessary injuries. It's things like these that demonstrate how detailed the R&D team of Proton was in the X50 development process.

The curtain airbags on the Proton X50 have also been modified to provide better protection to the head areas during an impact, according to Proton.

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While this was initially done in order to comply with the ASEAN-NCAP requirements, which emphasized that a wide range of body types must be protected by curtain airbags, the increase in occupant safety from this small change was so impressive that Geely also undertook to incorporate this new design for its future models.

With the different safety approvals and consumer requirements of both Geely and Proton, both brands will benefit from each other in terms of technological expertise during the development process. In the end, when we get to enjoy safer drives on the lane, it's ultimately a win for us consumers.

Lastly, Zanita has mentioned that “Proton has always emphasized safety as one of its unique selling points unbiased to any country or platform. It is not surprising then, that we continue to challenge ourselves so that this DNA is inherent throughout our range of models, be it our locally produced car or the current joint development with our partner Geely.”