Proton is not an unfamiliar name for Malaysians as it is the country’s first national automotive company. They produced the first national car known as Proton Saga in 1985.
Since then, Proton has been a pride of the nation. Its manufacturing factory was previously featured on the RM100 denomination of the Malaysian bank note.
In 2011, Khazanah Nasional Bhd sold its 42.7% stake in Proton to DRB-HICOM BHD in order to gain more funds for research and development work on new products such as hybrid cars.
Unfortunately, Proton’s car sales went in a declining trend in the following years, from 2012 to 2018.
Consequently, the amount of profit made by DRB-Hicom was also decreasing, eventually hitting the red in 2016.
Therefore, DRB-HICOM decided to sell a significant amount of their shares in Proton to Geely, an automotive company from China.
Today, Geely holds 50.1% of Proton which makes them the major stakeholder in Proton.
With the release of the new Proton X70 Sport Utility Vehicle (SUV) in 2019, sales made by the company was seen to have improved drastically.
The model sold 26,331 units in 2019 alone. As of January 10, 2020, Proton has received a total of 42,000 bookings for the SUV.
However, the success of Proton X70 does not equate to the success of our national car initiative because the majority of Proton is owned by a foreign company – Geely.