Proton celebrated its 40th anniversary yesterday – landmark cars grace X90 launch, special edition soon? –

Why was the Proton X90 launch held on a Sunday? That’s highly unusual, and our first guess was that May 7 was chosen to fit prime minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s busy schedule, but it turns out that Proton intentionally picked the date, as it is the carmaker’s birthday.

That’s right, yesterday was Proton’s birthday, and it’s a big milestone, the big 40. Perusahaan Otomobil Nasional was formed forty years ago on May 7, 1983, and on July 9, 1985, the first Proton Saga was launched. The original Mitsubishi Lancer Fiore-based Saga was displayed at MITEC, along with other landmark sedan models such as the Waja, Persona and Perdana.

Also part of the 40th anniversary special display is the enthusiast favourite Satria GTI. The Lotus-tuned local hot hatch legend sat alongside the Exora, X50 and X70 – check out the gallery below.

This is of course just a small selection of past Proton models. We’ve compiled a list based on memory – did we miss anything? Saga (3x), Wira, Satria (2x), Putra, Arena, Perdana (2x), Tiara, Juara, Waja, Chancellor, Gen 2, Persona (2x), Savvy, Exora, Iriz, Preve, Suprima S, Inspira, Ertiga, X70, X50 and the latest X90.

Interestingly, the list covers different eras of various Proton marriages and partnerships – you’ll find cars based on models from Mitsubishi, Renault, Citroen, Suzuki and even Honda. Of course, the X family of SUVs are from Geely, which umbrella Proton is now under. Which are your top three favourite Protons of the past four decades?

“Today’s 40th anniversary celebration is a significant landmark moment for Proton and is an opportunity for the company to briefly look back at the journey while also looking ahead to the future. Over the past four decades, Proton’s contribution can be quantified not only by the number of sales achieved, but also by the number of engineers and professionals participated, jobs provided, value added to the ecosystem in the form of local purchases, and the overall uplifting of the economy because of our business activities,” said Proton chairman Datuk Seri Syed Faisal.

“Going forward, our mission to provide mobility solutions to our customers while helping develop the nation’s automotive industry has not changed, but we will explore new segments that are aligned to the government’s aspirations and changing consumer demand as buyers start transitioning to NEVs. The Proton X90 is our first step towards executing this new strategy and there are many more products in the pipeline as Proton looks to grow our presence in this exciting new market segment,” he added.

At the event, Proton also unveiled its 40th anniversary logo, which combines the round tiger head logo with the line “40 years of growing together”. To date, Proton has produced nearly five million cars, and in his speech, Syed Faisal said that the carmaker has to date contributed RM25 billion in taxes to the Malaysian government.

We won’t be surprised if Proton rolls out some 40th anniversary special editions this year, in the vein of this 25th anniversary Proton Saga BLM and this 35th anniversary R3-flavoured Saga. Full launch report of the X90 here.

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