Malaysian carmaker Proton has unveiled a new ute concept this week, but those hoping for a successor to the compact Jumbuck will be left wanting.
Revealed in these photos from Malaysian website PaulTan.org, the new concept – dubbed simply ‘Pick-Up’ – is noteably larger than its tiny ancestor, debuting as a potential rival to bigtime players like the Toyota HiLux and Ford Ranger.
And if the Pick-Up looks familiar, there’s a couple of good reasons for that. The new concept’s snout is arguably influenced by Ford’s popular overseas sports ute, the F-150 Raptor, which wears a large mesh grille and deep-set LED-framed headlights.
Proton has turned the styling wand up to 11 with its Pick-Up concept, though, with a far gnarlier – if a little less resolved – design at both ends.
Trainspotters may notice another familiar styling point, however. Look closely, and you’ll see that the Pick-Up concept is actually the current Exora people-mover, with the front and rear lopped off to accommodate this new ute design.
Rugged cladding aside, the Pick-Up’s dual-cab centre is otherwise taken directly from the Exora.
That also means that, in concept form at least, Proton’s Pick-Up is built on a passenger-focused monocoque architecture, rather than the ladder-frame design that underpins most high-riding utes.
A production future for the Pick-Up is still to be confirmed, although Proton has confirmed it is considering a return to the ute market.
“It’s very simple. Looking at how successful the Jumbuck was, there’s no reason for us not to look at segments where we were once profitable,” Proton design chief Azlan Othman told PaulTan.org at the unveiling.
Do you think Proton could improve its market share in Australia with the addition of a new ute model?