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Originally conceived by Malaysia's Prime Minister of the day, Dato Seri Dr Mahathir Mohamad, PROTON Bhd was incorporated on 7th May 1983 with the aim of building a national car. Two years later, On 9th July 1985 the Proton Saga (later known in the UK as the MPI) was officially launched. It was Malaysia's first domestically produced car and is still sold in Malaysia and other countries today.
The original factory plant, covering 99,400 sq m, is situated at Shah Alam near Kuala Lumpur in central Malaysia. The site also houses an engine and transmission factory, a castings plant, R&D centre and a semi-high speed test track. The factory is currently producing 240,000 units per annum.
Opened in 2005; a state-of-the-art assembly plant was constructed at Tanjung Malim, 60 miles north of Kuala Lumpur. This area has been named Proton City and consists of a 500 hectare site containing the factory, plant, housing, a university and other commercial buildings to accommodate component suppliers. This plant produces the three newest model ranges, the GEN-2, Saga and Satria Neo.
Proton's total workforce in Malaysia totals just over 6,000 personnel working in all areas of vehicle design, R&D, production and manufacturing. With a solid base built up since 1983, Malaysia's car manufacturing industry is progressing rapidly.
Proton took a major step forward in upgrading its engineering capabilities when it acquired a share in Lotus Group International in October 1996. This stake was increased to 100% in 2003. Since the acquisition, personnel from Lotus are closely involved in Proton's new model development, with a team of engineers permanently based at the design and development centre in Malaysia.
The company has come a long way since 1983; PROTON was publicly listed on the Kuala Lumpur Stock Exchange in 1992, and today, Proton cars are exported to more than 50 countries worldwide. Key export markets include Australia, Singapore, the Far East and the UK; where during 2009 it celebrates 20 years in the market place.
2004 - Proton is launched in South Africa as a Joint Venture with Pearl Automotive Pty Ltd
2004 - The Gen 2 is introduced to the South African Market
2005 - The Arena Bakkie is launched in South Africa
2005 - The Savvy and Savvy AMT debut in South Africa
2006 - Satria Neo is launched in South Africa
2008 - Persona Sedan is launched in South Africa
2009 - Gen 2 Facelift arrives on SA shores
2010 - The SAGA 1.3 is launched in South Africa