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And we owe it all to an ASEAN Free Trade Agreement (FTA)!

05 Aug 2009

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In 1983, one Dr Mahathir Mohamad spearheaded an ambitious project. Creating a national car brand that locals could proudly call their own, and one that would be good enough to export to countries nearby like Indonesia, Thailand and even as far away in the United Kingdom and South Africa.

Obvious that they lacked the skills and technological expertise vital in producing a modern automobile, Proton enlisted the help of Mitsubishi Motors who obliged in educating the employees of Proton and providing the Malaysian brand with their mechanical parts.

To summarize the rest of the time-line, Proton came up with the Saga, then the Wira and the Perdana. Acquiring Lotus technologies in 1996, sales figures for the Satria GTi skyrocketed and the momentum rolled over to the Wira's replacement in the Gen-2.

From single-handedly boasting 60% of Malaysia's vehicle ownership pie in 2002, their market share collapsed to a staggering 30%. Proton said that it was "due to the fact that competitors cut their prices", but rather, it was the decreased protectionism of the brand that came from inking the ASEAN FTA, and the rise of Perodua that dealt Dr Mahathir's brainchild it's inevitable fate.

Why the intro was necessary

Because that's what got the wheels turning in a different direction.

Proton went back to the drawing board, reconstructed their management flow, tightened up their various processes and more importantly, realised that the trick to impressive sales figures is to listen to your customers and keep track of the market trends. For years the MPV (Multi-Purpose Vehicle) market has been a burgeoning one in places like Malaysia, Thailand and especially Indonesia where almost 75% of the vehicle population are filled by these people movers.

All Proton did was to put their ear to the ground.
Car Information
This model is no longer being sold by local distributors


: -

Engine Type


4-cylinders 16-valves DOHC

Engine Cap





93kW (125 bhp) / 6500 rpm



150 Nm / 4500 rpm



4-speed (A)

Acceleration (0-100 km/h)



Top Speed



Fuel consumption



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