Proton Holdings Berhad (stylised PROTON) is a Malaysian automobile manufacturer. The headquartered in Shah Alam, Selangor and controls an additional manufacturing plant in Tanjung Malim, Perak (Malaysia). The Proton group was established in 1983 as the sole national car group until the advent of the Perodua in 1993. The Proton Company is a Malay acronym for Perusahaan Otomobil Nasional Sendirian Berhad. (National Automobile Company Private Ltd).
Proton group was largely a manufacturer of badge engineered vehicles from Mitsubishi Motors between 1985 and early 2000s. The Proton Company has since produced several indigenous designed models and operates in at least 26 countries at present, the greatest part of which are in Asia. The Proton was previously owned by Khazanah National, the investment holding arm of the rule of Malaysia. In Jan-2012, it was taken over by DRB-HICOM (1980), a Malaysian conglomerate in a deal amounting RM 1.2 billion.
The idea of a National Car was 1st conceived in 1979 by Tun Dr. Mahathir bin Mohamad (1925), the Malaysia Prime Minister with the goal of enhancing the Malaysian industry. The corporation was initially wholly owned by the government of Malaysia through Khazanah Nasional and was headed by its creator, Dr. Mahathir. Proton group approached the Mitsubishi Motors between 1983 and 1984 and brokered a joint venture between both groups for the production of the 1st Malaysian car. Proton Company entered the UK in March 1989 with the Saga saloon and hatchback duo, where the Malaysian corporation set the record for the “Fastest Selling Make of New Car Ever to Enter the UK (United Kingdom)”. That followed witnessed imperative the developments and highlight in the Proton’s history both domestically and worldwide.
The Proton Saga Iswara was launched on 15 August 1992. It shares the older Mitsubishi stage used in the original Proton Saga (1985), but its exterior and interior styling are unique to the Proton. The Saga Iswara was widely used as taxicabs in the Malaysia during the 1990s and 2000s, and many continue in service to the current day. Proton acquired an 80% stake in Lotus Group International Limited, valued at £51 million on 30 October 1996. The controlling interests was purchased from A.C.B.N. Holdings S.A. of Luxembourg, a group controlled by Italian businessman Romano Artioli (1932), then also the owner of Bugatti. The Proton’s stake in Lotus was later increased to 100% in 2003. The acquisition of Lotus witnessed the involvement of the British corporation in the development of suspension and handling elements of all Proton cars launched since 1996. Proton Satria GTi, widely regarded as the most excellent Malaysian car ever produced owes much of its success to Lotus’ contributions.
Proton Waja, the group’s first ingenuously designed model was launched in Aug-2000. It sets in stone Proton’s new direction in big business and marked the end of Proton’s extensive reliance on other automobile manufacturers for vehicle platforms and parts. Proton purchased a 57.57% stake in MV Agusta S.p.A of Italy, valued at €70 million on 7 July 2004. Proton failed to reverse the misfortunes of MV Agusta and finally 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. The Proton made history again when it introduced the Exora, the Malaysia’s first seven seater MPV on 15 April 2009. It was based on the Proton’s next generation P2 platform and satisfied the demand for budget seven seaters in the domestic marketplace, previously monopolized by Toyota Avanza and Nissan Grand Livina (2006). It has since been consistently positioned in the Top 10 best-selling vehicles in Malaysia.
Proton resumed product collaboration with Mitsubishi Motors Corporation in December 2008. Under the contract, the Proton gained the rights to re badge the 2007 Mitsubishi Lancer (1973) to be sold exclusively in the Malaysian bazaar. The result of the collaboration was the Proton Inspira, which launched on 10 Nov 2010. They were designed by the Ital design Giugiaro and related to the Lotus Ethos (2010), a alike concept car from Proton’s British subsidiary. On 17 Aug 2013, Proton group launched the Suprima S, the hatchback complement to Prevé saloon. It became the second five-star ANCAP rated Proton and the 1st to offer extensive standard safety features in its domestic bazaar. On 11 Dec 2013, the second generation Proton Perdana was finally unveiled after a three-year gap in nameplate’s production. New Perdana is a badge engineered eighth generation Honda Accord and is presently for exclusive sale to the Malaysian civil servants and government officials. The Proton Iriz was unveiled on 25 Sep 2014 as the Proton Company’s first B-segment five-door hatchback. The Proton has officially plans to construct an automobile plant in Bangladesh on 3 Dec 2014.
The Proton Company, predominantly reliant on it is domestic bazaar is at present undergoing structural and the internal changes, as evident in the appointment of a new owner, a new partner, and a new chairman, and in the launch of various new and upcoming models in an effort to gain an worldwide presence and increase profitability.
The Proton Company Website: www.proton.com
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