The concept of a National Car was conceived in 1979

Author : kioraminako
Publish Date : 2021-01-16


The concept of a National Car was conceived in 1979

The concept of a National Car was conceived in 1979 by then Deputy Prime Minister of Malaysia, Dato' Seri Dr Mahathir bin Muhammad, now Tun Dr Mahathir Muhammad, with the goal of enhancing Malaysian industry.[6] The National Car Project was approved by the Cabinet in 1982, leading to the founding of Proton on 7 May 1983. It was wholly owned by the government of Malaysia through Khazanah Nasional at its creation. It was headed by its founder, Dr. Mahathir. Proton approached Mitsubishi Motors between 1983 and 1984 and brokered a joint venture between both companies for the production of the first Malaysian car. The result of the collaboration was the Proton Saga, which launched on 9 July 1985.[7] It was based on the second generation 1983 Mitsubishi Lancer Fiore 4-door saloon and powered by a 1.3-litre Mitsubishi Orion 4G13 engine. The first Proton Saga to roll off the production line in Shah Alam is preserved in the Muzium Negara as a symbol of the beginning of the Malaysian automotive industry. Sales of the new Saga outstripped supply and Proton struggled to meet the growing demand, but by mid-1986 it had captured a 64% majority domestic market share in the Below 1600cc segment.[8] Later in October 1987, a hatchback variant called the Proton Saga Aeroback was launched and featured a more powerful 1.5L Mitsubishi 4G15 engine and a redesigned rear-end. Proton entered the United Kingdom in March 1989 with the Saga saloon and hatchback duo, where the Malaysian company set the record for the "Fastest Selling Make of New Car Ever to Enter the United Kingdom".[9] Proton's sales declined during the late 1980s as a result of the worldwide economic recession, and the lack of technical expertise in Proton's management.[10] Kenji Iwabuchi, a former Mitsubishi Motors executive, was appointed as the managing director of Proton in 1988.[11] In the decade that followed, there were significant developments both domestically and globally and city. 1990s The Proton Saga Iswara saloon, widely used as Malaysian taxis in the 1990s and early 2000s. The Proton Wira saloon. Over 952,216 units were sold in around 65 countries worldwide.[12] The Proton Satria GTi, widely regarded as the best Proton car ever produced. The first generation Proton Perdana, then the company's most premium offering. On 15 August 1992, the Proton Saga Iswara was launched. It shares the older Mitsubishi platform used in the original Proton Saga, but its exterior and interior styling are unique to Proton. The Saga Iswara was widely used as taxicabs in Malaysia during the 1990s and 2000s, and many continue in service. On 21 May 1993 the Proton Wira was introduced, a car which was better equipped and larger than the Saga and Saga Iswara. The Wira is based on the fourth-generation 1991 Mitsubishi Lancer and was sold in a four-door saloon guise at launch. The Proton Wira Aeroback, a five-door hatchback variant featuring a Proton-designed rear-end joined the range in 1993. The Wira saloon and hatchback shared six different engines by 1996, all of which were sourced from Mitsubishi Motors. The engines included the 4G13 1.3L and 4G15 1.5L carried over from the Proton Saga, the newer 4G92 1.6L, 4G93 SOHC and DOHC 1.8L and the 4D68 2.0L diesel. The Wira was the first Proton car to be produced in right-hand drive (RHD) and left-hand drive (LHD) configurations, and remains the only Proton car made available with a diesel engine.[13] In 1994, Proton launched the three-door Proton Satria hatchback and the two-door Proton Putra coupé in 1996, both of which are based on the Wira platform and powered by the same range of Mitsubishi engines offered in the Wira, with the exception of the 2.0L diesel. The Proton Wira saloon and hatchback, and the Proton Satria and Putra were aggressively exported and marketed across the European Union and Middle East during the 1990s. The Proton Perdana, a premium D-segment saloon, was launched in 1995. It is based on the seventh generation 1992 Mitsubishi Eterna and was fitted with Mitsubishi's 4G63 2.0-litre l4 engine. It was offered with the superior 177bhp 6A12 DOHC 2.0L V6 engine after 1999. The Perdana remains the only D-segment, V6-powered car to be commercially produced by Proton. A Citroën AX-based 1.1-litre five-door supermini called the Proton Tiara debuted in 1996. It was the result of a joint venture between Proton and PSA Peugeot Citroën, a collaboration which was later abandoned after the death of Proton's then CEO, Tan Sri Yahaya Ahmad in 1997. On 30 October 1996, Proton acquired an 80% stake in the British company, Lotus Group International Limited, valued at £51 million.[14] The controlling interest was purchased from A.C.B.N. Holdings S.A. of Luxembourg, a company controlled by Italian businessman Romano Artioli, then also the owner of Bugatti. Proton's stake in Lotus was increased to 100% in 2003.[15] Lotus has been involved in the development of suspension and handling elements of all Proton cars launched since 1996. The Proton Satria GTi, widely regarded as the best Malaysian car ever produced, owes much of its success to Lotus' contributions.[16] 2000s The Proton Waja, the first indigenously designed Proton car. The Proton GEN•2, the first model to be offered with Proton's CamPro engine The Proton Waja, the company's first indigenously designed model, was launched in August 2000. It however still had a Mitsubishi 4G18 engine at launch as Proton's first in-house Campro engine was not yet available. The Waja marked the end of Proton's extensive reliance on other car manufacturers for vehicle platforms and components.[17] However, the model was only a moderate seller, being significantly outsold by Proton's own much older and slightly smaller Proton Wira.[18] The Waja also marked the start of a decline in the local market-leading Proton marque which led to Perodua, the second Malaysian vehicle manufacturer, eventually capturing Proton's sales crown in 2006.[19] In 2002, Proton introduced the Arena, a ute based on the Proton Wira platform and thus far the only Proton model to enjoy significantly more popularity in its export markets (specifically Australia) than domestically. The Proton Gen-2, a hatchback model, was launched in late 2004. It was the first Proton vehicle equipped with the all-new Malaysian-made Campro engine. The advanced RM1.8 billion (USD$580 million) Proton Tanjung Malim manufacturing plant in the Malaysian state of Perak commenced operation in November 2003.[20] The new plant had been projected to open in August 1998, but it was deferred due to the 1997 Asian Financial Crisis.[21] However, it was revived in 2001 and completed in late 2003 instead.[22][23] The new 1,280 acre plant was also developed as part of the Proton City project, which would span 4,000 acres of land in Tanjung Malim and consist of residential, commercial, institutional, industrial and recreational areas.[24] The plant has an annual production capacity of 150,000 vehicles, but could be expanded to 1 million units in the future. The Proton Tanjung Malim plant complements the original Proton plant in operation since 1985, located in Shah Alam, Selangor.[25] Despite a combined production capacity of around 350,000 units, both plants are underutilised with just 52,235 and 114,645 units produced at the Tanjung Malim and Shah Alam plants in 2011 respectively.[24] On 7 July 2004, Proton purchased a 57.57% stake in MV Agusta S.p.A. of Italy, valued at €70 million. Proton failed to reverse the misfortunes of MV Agusta and sold the marque to Gevi S.p.A. in December 2005 for €1, with Gevi assuming the €139.44 million debt carried over from MV Agusta.[26] The Proton Satria Neo. The second generation Proton Persona, the successor to the Proton Wira saloon. The latter half of the 2000s marked Proton's comeback in the domestic market, with its vehicle sales growing a total of about 37 percent from 2006 to 2011, significantly above total passenger car sales growth of about 10 percent.[27][28] The comeback was spearheaded by the Persona saloon launched in August 2007, the long-overdue replacement for the best-selling but ageing Proton Wira saloon. The Persona was based on an extended version of the 2004 Proton Gen-2 hatchback platform and shared most of its components and external appearance, yet it was priced around RM10,000 less while offering significant improvements in quality and offering more luggage space.[29] The Persona was an instant hit with Malaysian's, craving a saloon-shaped alternative to market-leader Perodua's hatchback range, and 19,840 units were sold in the first three months following its launch.[30] Next came the much anticipated second generation Proton Saga which was launched on 18 January 2008.[31] Previously, the first generation Proton Saga had been Proton's first and most successful model, having had a long 23-year lifespan, the longest of all Proton models to date. The new Saga proved to be a big hit for Proton with over 23,000 bookings two weeks into its launch.[32] It has consistently ranked as Proton's best-selling vehicle domestically, while placing 3rd overall in 2008, and 2nd between 2009 and 2012, beaten only by its archrival the Perodua MyVi in overall vehicle sales.[33][34][35] Finally, Proton further widened its model base when it introduced the Exora, Malaysia's first indigenous 7-seater MPV in April 2009.[36] The Exora was based on Proton's next generation P2 platform and helped satisfy the growing demand for a budget 7-seater in the domestic market, which had been monopolised by the Nissan Grand Livina and the smaller Toyota Avanza. It has since been consistently positioned in the Top 10 best-selling vehicles in Malaysia.[33][34][35] 2010s The Proton Exora, the company's first 7-seat MPV. In December 2008, Proton resumed product collaboration with Mitsubishi Motors.[37] Under the agreement, Proton gained the rights to rebadge the 2007 Mitsubishi Lancer to be sold exclusively in the Malaysian market. The result of the collaboration was the Proton Inspira, which launched on 10 November 2010. It also marked a return to closer ties between Proton and Mitsubishi, the Japanese company which was instrumental in Proton's foundation in the 1980s.[38] Proton showcased the EMAS concept hybrid city cars at the 2010 Geneva Motor Show.[39] They were designed by Italdesign Giugiaro and related to the Lotus Ethos, a similar concept car from Proton's British subsidiary. The Proton Prevé, the first 5-star ANCAP safety rated car from Malaysia. The long-awaited turbocharged inline-four petrol engine from Proton was revealed at the 2010 Kuala Lumpur International Motor Show.[40] Officially known as the 1.6L CamPro CFE, it is capable of producing power and torque figures of 138 bhp (103 kW) at 5,000 rpm and 205 N·m at 2,000–4,000 rpm respectively, comparable to a 2.0L naturally aspirated engine, while achieving better fuel efficiency and reduced greenhouse emissions.[41] In January 2012, Proton was acquired by DRB-HICOM, a Malaysian conglomerate in a transaction between Khazanah Nasional and DRB-HICOM which totalled RM1.2 billion.[42] The Proton Prevé, the company's latest saloon car was unveiled on 16 April 2012.[43][44] It became the first Proton car, and to an extent, the first Malaysian car to be awarded the full 5-star safety rating in the Australasian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP) of Australia and New Zealand.[45] In December 2012, Proton acquired all of Petronas' E01 engine technologies in addition to associated technology patents at a cost of RM 63 million.[46] The deal encompassed a family of naturally aspirated and turbocharged 1.8, 2.0 and 2.2-litre engines to complement Proton's own CamPro 1.3L N/A, 1.6L N/A and 1.6L turbo engines. The Proton Iriz. The Proton Suprima S. On 17 August 2013, Proton launched the Suprima S, the hatchback complement to the Prevé saloon.[47] It became the second 5-star ANCAP rated Proton and the first to offer extensive standard safety features in its domestic market. On 11 December 2013, the second generation Proton Perdana was finally unveiled after a three-year gap in the nameplate's production.[48] The new Perdana is a badge engineered eighth generation Honda Accord and is for exclusive sale to Malaysian civil servants and g



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