Proton celebrates 35 years of Proton Saga

Stay tuned to the national carmaker’s official Facebook page tomorrow to find out what surprises are in store

by RAHIMI YUNUS/ pic credit:

PROTON Holdings Bhd will be celebrating 35 years of the birth of Malaysia’s first national car, Proton Saga, tomorrow.

With the car model’s 35th anniversary, Proton encouraged consumers to keep a watch on its official Facebook page tomorrow at 10.35am to find out about what is brewing for the model.

Thirty-five years on, the Saga retains its position as the mainstay of Proton’s range of offerings. Since the launch of the upgraded 2019 model, the booking volumes have nearly matched those of the original.

In May this year, it was the country’s bestselling car, while in June, it even reached the highest monthly sales volume in 70 months.

The company said it has cumulatively sold over 1.8 million units of Saga in the last 35 years, making it the most popular model from a Malaysian automotive brand.

“With more gradual improvements in the pipeline, a commitment to excellence and the company’s dedication to keeping the Saga ahead of its rivals, the popular nameplate will carry on for at least another 35 years,” Proton said in a statement yesterday.

Proton created history for Malaysia when the nation joined just a handful of countries with car-making capabilities when the company rolled off production lines of Saga on July 9, 1985, about two years after the establishment of Perusahaan Otomobil Nasional, or Proton.

The creation of Proton was the brainchild of former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad who conceived the idea of a national carmaker in 1979 to help push the industrialisation of the nation.

The idea received Cabinet approval in 1982 and on May 7, 1983, Malaysia’s first automotive company was founded.

The first Proton Saga was based on a Mitsubishi model after the Japanese car manufacturer agreed to a joint venture with Heavy Industries Corp of Malaysia Bhd (Hicom) to produce Malaysia’s first car.

The Saga had quickly established itself as Malaysians’ favourite car.

The car model went beyond its home country when it was launched in the UK on March 16, 1989, and sales were successful with a 12-month sales target achieved in merely six months.

“Over the years, Proton has gone from strength to strength, achieved success in motorsports at an international level and launched many other models, but the Saga has remained a constant in its model range,” Proton said.

It said Proton Saga has been reliable, affordable and provides a ride and handling balance that showcases the skill of the company’s engineers.

Proton launched the 2019 Saga in August last year with more technologically advanced features.