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31 Jul 2009 | Text and photos by Amery Reuben
Malaysian car stories 101
The Perodua Myvi was and is an important development for Perodua. No, not because it's something radically new. And it doesn't take a genius to tell you that it's a re-badged Toyota Passo and Daihatsu Sirion.
So it's all good then, this business of badge engineering. Proton started off this way and Perodua had the Daihatsu Mira manufactured under license for Malaysians as well (read: Kancil).
Slowly building confidence under mentorship by Japanese engineers, the engineers at Perodua were able to dole out a big facelift to the Kancil by the end of the 1990s, and public demand further boosted their confidence. But their desire to upgrade to a bigger car meant that Perodua lost out to in sales to its competitors.
Great timing then, that during the 2002-2005 period, Daihatsu restructured a major part of Perodua's manufacturing operations - a move which enabled Perodua to play a bigger part in planning its product line. This also meant that it would be actively involved in this new model's joint venture, playing a critical role with the input of information, much like what was the case with the Peugeot-Citroen-Toyota joint venture that created the 107, C1 and Aygo respectively.
That's how Perodua got a fair share of the Myvi, and in a big step forward from the past too. In typical early Proton fashion, Perodua would have only received the final design brief, of which allowed only minor cosmetic modifications to be made so their product would be remotely "more unique."
The other benefit of this joint venture in design and manufacture would be the inevitable application of stringent Japanese-like quality control measures. Perodua claims that out of 10 Myvis produced, only 2 are found to be defective, a much easier figure to stomach when compared to the last time they released those figures some years back.
That's not particularly fantastic when compared to cars actually produced on Japanese soil, but it is of course, a vast improvement for Malaysia. Moreover, Perodua has claimed to monitor and improve on the consistency of these levels.