If you’ve been waiting for the Proton Exora Hybrid to enter the market, some positive news then – the vehicle might be introduced next year, if everything goes according to plan. According to reports, Proton’s managing director Datuk Seri Syed Zainal Abidin said that the Exora Hybrid is undergoing testing validation in the United Kingdom, which is expected to be completed in two weeks.

Proton will then get the approval to produce the hybrid MPV after it obtains final certification from the Malaysian Institute of Road Safety Research (MIROS). As for its introduction into the market, Syed Zainal hinted that the vehicle would arrive sometime in 2012. “We hope the car goes to the public by next year,” he said.

Development of the Exora Hybrid began in the UK in 2009, and in November last year, fresh from bagging the “Best Range Extender EV” award at the Royal Automobile Club (RAC) Future Car Challenge event held in London, we drove the Exora Hybrid here in its REEV form. How much of this one will translate into the series production product remains to be seen.

Elsewhere, the company says it is confident of surviving in a fully liberalised market, and was prepared to face challenges when the planned liberalisation of the domestic automotive industry comes into play by 2016.

Proton has been prepared for this for a long time, according to Syed Zainal. “We have a five-year journey and whatever we do, we must make sure the cars become cheaper and its product design and quality get better,’ he said last week.

The company’s current restructuring exercise, which should be completed later this year once it is approved by the board and shareholders, is in line with the company’s direction heading towards 2016.

“We want the company to be more flexible and focus on whatever they do. We have the breadth but not the depth. We want to be better in the way we design, manufacture, sell and distribute our cars,” he stated, and the restructuring would obviously streamline many things and add focus, going forward.