Proton History of 2000s

The Proton Waja, the company’s first indigenously designed model was launched in August 2000. It set in stone Proton’s new direction in business and marked the end of Proton’s extensive reliance on other automobile 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 lead 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, where it became the first Proton car to be equipped with the Malaysian-made CamPro engine.

Photo : Proton Waja

The advanced RM1.8 billion (USD$580 million) Proton Tanjung Malim manufacturing plant in the Malaysian state of Perak commenced operation in November 2003.[13] The new plant was initially projected for an August 1998 opening, but was deferred due to the 1997 Asian Financial Crisis.[14] However, it was revived in 2001 and completed in late 2003 instead.[15][16] The new 1,280 acre plant was also developed as part of the Proton City project, which would span 4,000 acres of land in Tanjung Malim and consist of residential, commercial, institutional, industrial and recreational areas.

Photo : Proton Gen-2

[17] The plant has an annual production capacity of 150,000 vehicles, but could be expanded to 1 million units in the future. The Proton Tanjung Malim plant complements the original Proton plant in operation since 1985, located in Shah Alam, Selangor.[18] Despite a combined production capacity of around 350,000 units, both plants are underutilized with just 52,235 and 114,645 units produced at the Tanjung Malim and Shah Alam plants in 2011 respectively.[17] On 7 July 2004, Proton purchased a 57.57% stake in MV Agusta S.p.A of Italy, valued at €70 million. Proton failed to reverse the misfortunes of MV Agusta and finally sold the marque to Gevi S.p.A in December 2005 for €1, with Gevi assuming the €139.44 million debt carried over from MV Agusta.[19]

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