As July 9 looms upon us, we take this opportunity to celebrate an iconic nameplate in Malaysian automotive history. For it was on July 9 1985 that the Proton Saga started rolling off the production lines. An impressive feat, seeing that Perusahaan Otomobil Nasional (Proton) had just been established 2 years prior.
And now, here we are, the Saga nameplate still with us, still going strong, still staying true to its humble origins and purpose and ever popular with Malaysian consumers. In fact, the Saga has cumulatively sold over 1.8 million units since 1985.
The first Proton Saga was based on the Mitsubishi Lancer Fiore after the Japanese car manufacturer agreed to a joint-venture with HICOM to produce Malaysia’s first car. It quickly established itself as a favourite amongst Malaysian car buyers.
Through the ensuing decades, Proton went through good and bad times, but the Saga has remained a constant in its model range. Reliable, affordable and blessed with a ride and handling balance that punched above its price point, it received a major upgrade this past August that kept it sharp in an ever-competitive segment.
Today, the Saga retains its position as the mainstay of Proton’s range of offerings. Remarkable, given how much the automotive landscape has changed since 1985. As a testament to its enduring popularity, booking volumes for the latest Saga have nearly matched those of the original, which was sold at a time when consumers had fewer options to choose from.
For a nameplate to have lasted 35 years and sold over more then 1,800,000 units is a glorious achievement, what more from a brand that comes from our backyard? We hope the Saga will continue to evolve to stay relevant in the automotive world and to see it going strong in the decades to come.
Proton themselves recognise just how important the Saga is to them, and are preparing to celebrate its significance to Malaysians. Check out Proton’s official Facebook page on 9 July 2020 at 10.35am to find out more.