Malaysia to Have A Brand New National Car. Is It A Big Yes or No?
Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad is reviving his dream of a new national car after the automaker he started in the 1980s was privatized and a stake was later sold to a Chinese company.
“Our ambition is to start another national car, perhaps with some help from Southeast Asia,” he said at a Nikkei conference in Tokyo, his first official overseas trip since being reinstalled as premier last month. “
Malaysia has the capacity to do almost 100 percent of the development of a new automobile. This can be obtained by having foreign partners.”
Proton Holdings Bhd., the carmaker Mahathir started in 1983 during his first stint as premier, faltered over the years even with billions of dollars in grants and subsidies. It was taken private in 2012 by DRB-Hicom Bhd., a conglomerate controlled by Malaysian billionaire Syed Mokhtar Al-Bukhary.
Last year, China’s Zhejiang Geely Holding Group Co. bought a 49.9 percent stake in Proton.
Mahathir saw it as an insult to national pride, and viewed the carmaker as collateral damage from his ongoing feud with then-premier Najib Razak. He criticized the government for the sale, saying that the administration “seems to be set on bankrupting Proton and selling it off, because I think it is regarded as my baby.”
Though the announcement sparked mixed reactions among the Malaysians or even the international society, still, there were some supporters for the idea.
Within the region, Seasia confident many people knew Proton less than the Malaysians do, but there are actually more trivia about this inaugural Malaysia's former national car that even many Malaysians might not aware as well.
Here are some facts and secret trivia about this inaugural Malaysian former national car:
1. Proton succeeded in extreme heat and cold tests in Oman deserts and the North and South Poles!
2. Discovery Channel featured Proton's Tanjung Malim plant in Malaysian state Perak, calling it the "most advanced modern car plant".
3, Proton Preve and Proton Suprima S have managed to achieve a full five-star rating in ANCAP (Australasian New Car Assessment Program) which is Australia's leading independent vehicle safety advocate.
4. Proton exports to over twenty-six countries all over the world, as of 2015. The key export market includes Australia, Singapore, the Far East and the UK.
5. Egypt has got one of the largest Proton Persona fan clubs in the world. This group consists of all fans and owners of Proton cars in Egypt who have a common passion for their Protons.
7.In 2013, Proton Preve R3 clocked the fastest time in history for a Malaysian Touring Class race car, overtaking Mazda, Toyota & Ford in under 2:39 minutes.
8. Proton Satria Neo S2000 won 7 awards championships and finished top 3 in all 6 tours at the Asia Pacific Rally Championship 2012.
9. The Proton Impian is used by the UK police in Humberside, next to the Lexus IS-F cruiser
10. Proton adopts various technologies from LOTUS' vehicle dynamics. All new Proton car models use Lotus engineering and handling.
Source : Various source including Bloomberg, Says.com