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Proton Holdings has invested a total of over RM18 billion in R&D (research and development) since its establishment in 1983, according to the firm’s chief technical officer, Abdul Rashid Musa. In relation, the nation’s first car manufacturer has also managed to curb monetary outflow beyond the country by as much as RM200 billion via the sales of more than four million vehicles.

The company has also “contributed RM20 billion in taxes to the government through the sales and service tax,” Rashid told members of the media at the preview of its Alami Proton carnival last week. During the preview, Rashid also went on to state notable highlights of the company’s achievement throughout the years, including the debut of its first in-house designed car, the Proton Waja, in 2000.

Additionally, the briefing session also highlighted the fact that Malaysia remains one of only 14 countries in the world with the capabilities and resources to engineer, develop and assemble its local vehicles. Also, Malaysia is one of only six countries in the world to possess Hot Press Forming (HPF) technology.

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The manufacturer also had to undergo several challenges throughout its existence with the liberalisation of the nation’s economy as well as having to comply with ever-tightening safety and emissions regulations. Despite said obstacles, Rashid remained adamant that Proton products were “undeniably” good cars.

He used the local taxi fleet, which is comprised mainly of Proton cars, as an example of its reliability. “The mileage of taxis is five to ten times more compared to ordinary usage and if the vehicle is not good, it won’t be able to withstand gruelling day-to-day use,” said Rashid.

Separately, Proton chairman, Tun Mahathir, recently declared that all future Proton models will adhere to the Euro 5 emissions standard. “We have not reached Euro 5 (standards) yet. Not that we cannot, but the costs involved are high. That’s the problem. People still think that Proton cars are low tech and cheap. Now, that’s no longer true,” he stated during the Alami Proton carnival over the weekend.

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