As most European car manufacturer are downsizing or even stopping operations, it is mighty impressive that Proton is managing that world economic drought. From the recent Geneva motor show most companies feature only concepts and production models that have long been in development. Now after a new uprated version of the NEO we will see Proton entering the MPV market. Exora a name of a flower which grows in abundance in this country in either yellow or red.
Now... why is the perceived credibility of Proton is not really pretty in the eyes of Malaysians. Well, first off.... it is a well known fact that Proton started out as manufacturing under license Mitsubishi outdated vehicles. But at that time it was not that outdated since the Japanese sees 5 years more like 10 and the rest of the world doesn't.
Perhaps for a bit too long Proton used Mitsubishi. Therefor the get Proton cars bang up to date would was hard and I bet there were some details in their agreement which states limitations. Anyway.... fast forward with bad quality control and slow customer service and some cases of faulty parts that required Proton to recall some models of a particular year.
That hit them bad and in the eyes of Malaysians they have been cheated. Even when the government bolsters Proton with subsidies to level the rest of the playing field with them. Could Proton now seriously stand on it's own? It has Lotus but sold MV Agusta for nickles. That is what I think their mistake went~ for the reason that Motorbikes is not beneficial enough for Proton.
Now tell me which part is that? If only the current CPS was co-developed with MV Augusta's experience in performance bikes perhaps the Campro could be even better still. Just like Honda which developed Vtec engines for their sport bikes first. Plus we have a prestigious marque under Malaysian wings.
What is the outlook for Proton in the coming years? Well they have a lot to do....but they have to do it quickly and catch the market back on the up-stroke when the world economy recovers. They might not sell that much starting this year.... but with a full fleet of models which can survive for another 3 years at least (except the Perdana) they should have enough time to cook up something new for the post depression market.
Proton just have to be careful. As the partners they choose in this pre-depression period may very well leak their resources and bleed it to death. My best advise is to continue doing their own R&D and even offer other companies to manufacture there mass consumer vehicles and retail them in markets that Proton are not a player of. Oh and please hope that they pay attention towards the local passenger vehicle tuners. SUch as R3, HotBits, Powerzone and the rest as they might have a better input and experience in the current line-up of proton.