PROTON Holdings Berhad, (PHB; informally Proton) is a Malaysia-based corporation active in automobile design, manufacturing, distribution and sales. Proton was established in 1983 as the sole national badged car company until the advent of Perodua in 1993. The company is headquartered in Shah Alam, Selangor, and operates additional facilities at Proton City, Perak. ‘Proton’ is a Bahasa Malaysia acronym for Perusahaan Otomobil Nasional (National Automobile Company).
Also, the roton was originally a manufacturer of rebadged Mitsubishi Motors (MMC) products in the 1980s and 1990s. Proton produced its first indigenously designed (though Mitsubishi-engined), non-badge engineered car in the year 2000, and elevated Malaysia as the 11th country in the world with the
capability to design cars from the ground up. Since the 2000s, Proton has produced a mix of locally engineered and badge engineered vehicles. Proton cars are currently sold in at least 15 countries, the majority of which are in Asia.
Shah Alam, Selangor, Malaysia
Proton was originally owned in majority by HICOM, with minority stakes being held by Mitsubishi Group members. By 2005, Mitsubishi had divested their stake in Proton to Khazanah Nasional, and in 2012, Proton was fully acquired by DRB-HICOM. Proton has been the owner of Lotus Cars since 1996. In May 2017, DRB-HICOM announced plans to sell a 49.9% stake in Proton and a 51% stake in Lotus to Geely Automobile Holdings. The deal was signed in June 2017, and since then, Lotus ceased to be a unit of Proton.
Three nominees from Geely Holding joined the boards; Daniel Donghui Li, the Executive VP and CFO of Geely Holding; Dr Nathan Yuning, the Executive VP of International Business of Geely Holding, and Feng Qing Feng, the Group VP and CTO at HK-listed Geely Auto. DRB-HICOM are represented by Dato’ Sri Syed Faisal Albar, who chairs the boards, and Amalanathan Thomas and Shaharul Farez Hassan. Both are part of the senior management team at DRB-HICOM.
The concept of a National Car was conceived in 1979 by then Prime Minister of Malaysia, Dato’ Seri Dr Mahathir bin Mohamad, now Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, with the goal of enhancing Malaysian industry. 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.
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. 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.
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 1994.
In 1994, Proton launched the three-door Proton Satria hatchback and the two-door Proton Putra coupe 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.
The Proton Waja, the company’s first indigenously designed model. Launched in August 2000.It has the Mitsubishi 4G18 engine/Campro 1.6/Campro CPS 1.6 engines It set in stone Proton’s new direction in business and marked the end of Proton’s extensive reliance on other car manufacturers for vehicle platforms and parts. However, the Waja lagged behind its main competitors and failed to gain the support of customers in the domestic market. The Waja also marked the downfall of the Proton marque, and inadvertently led to the rise of Perodua. The second Malaysian vehicle manufacturer. In 2002, Proton introduced the Jumbuck, 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 was launched in late 2004. It was the first Proton car equipped with the Malaysian-made Campro engine.
The latter half of the 2000s marked Proton’s comeback in the domestic market. Then dominated by newer and better Toyota-based models from Perodua. On 15 August 2007, Proton launched the Persona saloon, the long overdue replacement for the best-selling Proton Wira saloon. The Persona was based on an extended version of the 2004 Proton Gen-2 hatchback platform and shared most of its external appearance, albeit priced around RM10,000 less with large overall improvements in terms of ergonomics and functionality.
In December 2008, Proton resumed product collaboration with Mitsubishi Motors. Under the agreement, Proton gained the rights to rebadge the 2007 Mitsubishi Lancer to be sold exclusively in the Malaysian market. So, 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. However, the Japanese company which was instrumental in Proton’s foundation in the 1980s. Proton showcased the EMAS concept hybrid city cars at the 2010 Geneva Motor Show. They were designed by Italdesign Giugiaro and related to the Lotus Ethos, a similar concept car from Proton’s British subsidiary
On 17 August 2013, Proton launched the Suprima S, the hatchback complement to the Preve saloon. 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. The new Perdana is a badge engineered eighth generation Honda Accord and is for exclusive sale to Malaysian civil servants and government officials.
The Proton Saga is a series of subcompact cars produced by Malaysian automobile manufacturer Proton. The Proton Saga is widely credited as the first Malaysian car. So, it is Proton’s flagship model and the company’s longest running nameplate, having been produced for over 31 years. Also, the first generation Proton Saga was developed as the result of a joint venture between HICOM and Mitsubishi Motors. It is based on the 1983 Lancer Fiore sedan, and was available in 4-door saloon and 5-door hatchback guises. The second generation Proton Saga was unveiled on 18 January 2008. It is based on a stretched Proton Savvy platform and was developed in-house by Proton.
The Proton Persona is a series of compact and subcompact cars produced by Malaysian automobile manufacturer Proton. The first generation Proton Persona (C90) refers to the export name given to the Proton Wira. So, the first use of the ‘Proton Persona’ nameplate dates back to November 1993 in the British market. The original Persona was later joined by the 3-door Persona Compact, and 2-door Persona Coupe. However, the second generation Proton Persona (CM) launched in August 2007. The CM series is the first Proton model to use the ‘Persona’ nameplate in its home market.
It is based on an extended Proton GEN-2 platform, and was sold as a saloon complement to the GEN•2 hatchback. The CM Persona replaced the Proton Wira saloon in Malaysia and the C90 Persona in its export markets.
The Proton Perdana is a series of four-door mid-size saloon cars produced by Malaysian automobile manufacturer Proton. There are two notable generations of the Proton Perdana. So, the first generation Proton Perdana was a badge engineered seventh generation Mitsubishi Eterna, developed as the result of a collaboration between Proton and Mitsubishi Motors. So, Proton refers to the 1995-1998 (non-V6) models as the first generation Proton Perdana and the 1998-2010 (V6) models as the second generation Proton Perdana. However, the general public commonly refersboth 1995-1998 (non-V6) models and 1998-2010 (V6) models based of the seventh generation Mitsubishi Eterna as first generation Proton Perdana’s.