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Auto Show

Proton Holdings Bhd will mark its first appearance at the Geneva auto show next month, where it will unveil a hybrid concept car.

The 5-door, 4-seat hatchback is about 140 ins. (355 cm) long and features a front-mounted endothermic engine for recharging the lithium-ion batteries that power a fully electric drivetrain.

A specially designed chassis features a raised floor that can accommodate the conventional engine as well as the hybrid system’s batteries in the rear.

The high position of the four independently adjustable and sliding seats allows passengers to fully enjoy the spacious interior, the auto maker says in a statement.

The car is designed to be easier to enter than other vehicles, as the seats’ H-points (or the position of an occupant’s hip) are at the same height as in an SUV.

The concept is a creative tie-up with ItalDesign Giugiaro SpA, which says Proton is ready to expand its horizons with a revolutionary car that meets global standards.

Proton Managing Director Zainal Tahir says the collaboration is part of the national auto maker’s long-term strategy to match global automotive standards and expand its footprint worldwide.

Italdesign Giugiaro says in a statement it is introducing a family of low-environmental-impact cars at the 80th Geneva show that will revolutionize traditional segmentation in the car market.

Chairman Giorgetto Giugiaro says the concept is the outcome of several years of study. The vehicle, to be unveiled March 2, has interior spaciousness on par with that of a D-segment sedan, despite maintaining the exterior dimensions of an A-segment car.

“You could say it is a brand new type of car, a new automotive concept where looks are as important as function, ergonomics and comfort, not to mention environmental impact,” he says in a statement.

“Rear-seat comfort when you enter and leave the car is absolutely unprecedented; the distance from the front seat is comparable to that of an SUV.”