It has been thirty years since the world saw the roll out of Malaysia’s product of the National Car Project, Proton.
It was then Prime Minister Dato’ Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamad’s determined vision to bring the nation’s industrialisation policy and progress into the next level. Venturing into high technology, he was determined that Malaysia should produce its own automobiles.
Perusahan Otomobil Nasional was the creature incorporated to deliver Heavy Industry Company (HICOM) first national car project.
Mitsubishi of Japan was the technological and solution partner and Proton Saga was started as a rebadged Mitsubishi Lancer. It was a learning curve for Malaysian engineers.
The eco-system had to be developed. Malaysian SMIs started to toy into making parts for this new car. Cottage industries started to grow to fabricate many plastic parts.
That journey has now been thirty years and after four million cars built and delivered, Proton could be proud of its indigenous models such as the iconic Waja, Persona, Second generation Saga, Preve, Suprima and latest is Iriz.
Proton did manage to make considerable impression in the global market in one way or another.
Needless to say, there were many challenges and the ups and downs and corporate dramas along the way. A good example was when Proton was part of DRB-Hicom Group under the ambitious entrepreneur Tan Sri Yahya Ahmad, it acquired the Norwich based Samuel Chapman’s Lotus Car Ltd. as part of strategic planning and growth.
An interesting fact is that Malaysia is one of 11 countries in the world which design and produce its own automobiles.
Proton is by far single most influential mechanical equipment amongst the majority of Malaysians. There is hardly any Malaysians who lived in this country the past thirty years who has no experience what so ever with any models of the national car project.
Today, Proton’s 800 engineers are dedicated and committed to follow through what started as a leader’s dream to be a component of the Vision 2020 developed nation status in five years time. The Group is supported by a vendor system of 189 fabricators and manufacturers.
And they have a plan. Actually, three plans. Proton just announced that three new models would be introduced next year.
Proton to unveil three new models next year
Wednesday, 8 July 2015
SHAH ALAM: Proton Holdings Bhd, which celebrates its 30th anniversary on Wednesday, will introduce three new models next year to boost sales and financial performance, said chairman Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
He said the new models are an improvement over the existing Saga, Persona and Perdana models with the collaboration of Japanese car manufacturer Honda.
“In the automotive industry, we are always borrowing technology. Major car companies are always exchanging technology. In this regard, we are only using Honda’s platform with the rest coming from our own efforts.
“The new models are equipped with the latest safety features and design. I really hope that all three models will enter the market in stages from January next year and will be well-received,” he said at Proton’s breaking of fast function here on Wednesday.
He said while Proton’s performance was not so good at present, the company had been working hard to produce quality cars such as the Iriz.
“I find the Iriz to be very good because it is very light and easy to drive compared with foreign cars of the same quality, but consumers’ response has not been ecouraging. However, of late the response to our Preve model has been better,” he said.
Dr Mahathir said the decline in Proton car sales had affected the cash flow of the company, which has had to hold back on executive staff salary increases.
“We have to make sacrifices to remedy the situation. Bonuses, although not much, will still be given, but with better sales they could probably be higher,” he said. – Bernama
These replacement models are designed and developed by Proton engineers. It is learnt that from late 2017, Proton would start to introduce the NE01 engine which was acquired from Petronas, developed jointly by Petronas and Sauber.
*Updated Thursday 9 July 2015 1000hrs
Whether or not there is still protectionism in place for the automobile industry especially when ASEAN AFTA for automobile has been implemented since 2010, Proton cars is still competitive in the market and in some of the models, it is value for money especially with the equipment offered.
The Sun Daily story:
Proton is ‘most affordable’ car in Malaysia
Posted on 9 July 2015 – 05:27am
Last updated on 9 July 2015 – 11:25am
KAJANG: Proton has been officially inducted as producing the most affordable car with the best safety ratings for the consumers in the country.
According to the latest report for car price ranges versus safety star ratings released on Tuesday by the New Car Assessment Programme for southeast Asian countries, or Asean NCAP, Proton has been singled out for selling three car models with five-star ratings at the lowest prices.
The Proton Iriz 1.6 litre selling at RM41,076 and equipped with two airbags and electronic stability control (ESC), took the first place for the cheapest car under the five-star category for Adult Occupant Protection (AOP) – driver and front passenger.
The Proton Preve executive model priced at RM57,686 and Proton Suprima S executive (RM75,748), with both cars offering six airbags and ESC, took second and third place respectively, followed by Ford Fiesta, Honda Jazz, Honda City, Honda Civic and seven other foreign car models subsequently.
Iriz scored well with 14.07 points (out of 16 points), which is within the five-star range for AOP, as a result from the frontal offset crash test at 64 km/h impact.
Under the “‘affordable safety” agenda launched by Asean NCAP since last year, its secretary-general Khairil Anwar Abu Kassim said the regional consumer-vehicle safety-testing body is applying pressure with manufacturers to produce safer cars at affordable prices.
He pointed out that to produce safer cars was relatively easy compared to advise prospective owners to purchase cars with top safety ratings.
“A few years back and until today, pricing still plays a major factor when purchasing a car, yet safety concerns are growing especially in Malaysia and Thailand,” he added.
Asean NCAP chairman Prof Dr Wong Shaw Voon said in future, “consumers will not accept anything less than a five-star safety car”.