The last vestiges of the national car project will disappear as soon as Putrajaya replaces its fleet of ageing Proton Perdana V6 limousines with Honda Accords, while the Pahang government has opted for the Volkwagen Passats.
Both models are now assembled by Proton Bhd's main shareholder DRB-Hicom Bhd in Pekan whose Member of Parliament is Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak. The company that produces Proton is owned by Tan Sri Syed Mokhtar Al Bukhary.
The new cars are for Cabinet ministers, deputy ministers and state executive councillors. The total cost of the purchase has yet to be determined.
Other state governments have also slowly replaced the two-litre engine capacity Perdanas, which went out of production in 2010 and is now proving to be expensive to maintain.A source told The Malaysian Insider that Putrajaya is taking the Honda Accord 2.4-litre model while the Pahang government had opted for the 2-litre Volkswagen Passats. It is learnt that one Volkswagen Toureg has also been bought for the Pahang government.
Other replacements for the Perdanas include Mercedes-Benz E200 Kompressors for the Terengganu government in 2008, replacing their 2004 Perdana V6 Executives.
Both Selangor and Perak had also replaced their Perdanas with Toyota Camrys, while the Sabah government opted for the Volvo S80s.
Proton released a new lower-cost model Saga SV over the weekend but has not indicated it will produce higher-range models that could replace the Perdanas.
There was speculation about a new Perdana based on the Passat platform when a tie-up between Proton and Volkswagen was discussed between 2004-2007. But the plan was cancelled when Volkswagen announced that partnership talks had failed.
There was also talk between Proton and Mitsubishi Australia in 2005 about a new Perdana in the form of a re-badged Mitsubishi 380 sedan, which later ceased production in 2008.
Other speculation about Perdana replacements was about using the Proton Exora platform, the Nissan Fuga or sharing the chassis with the Honda Accord but nothing came of that.
The Perdana model was the cream of the crop for Proton, which produced its first Saga model in 1985 in a heavy industrialisation programme initiated by Malaysia's longest-serving prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
The Perdana SEi was first introduced a decade after Proton's first car and was in production from 1995 to 1998. It was based on the Mitsubishi Galant platform and came with the Japanese carmaker's proven 2.0L 4G63 SOHC engine.
The first generation Perdana was Proton's first model to offer an anti-lock braking system (ABS) and cruise control. In 1997, the Perdana was given a facelift with a chrome grille, a new rim design, new body colours and upgraded interior trimmings.
In 1999, Proton fitted a new Mitsubishi 2.0L 6A12 V6 engine with a new bodykit and 16-inch rims.
In 2003, the Perdana V6 was given a major facelift and new bumpers. Inside, it had a new aluminium-effect trim. This iteration remained on sale until early 2010.
There was also a luxury variant of the Proton Perdana V6 with an extended length in the rear door, dubbed the Proton Perdana V6 Executive that was converted by Automotive Conversion Engineering (ACE), a unit of EON specialised in developing limousines for statesmen.
Like the original Perdana, the Perdana V6 was not exported to Europe. — June 18, 2013.
~ The Malaysian Insider