On 29th June 2005, 45 current and prospective Proton dealers from across the UK and Ireland began a seven day trip to Malaysia. The trip gave dealers the opportunity to visit the new Proton plant at Tajung Malim, the Shah Alam factory, test drive the new 5-door Proton Savvy, due to be launched later this year, plus take a sneak peek at the Satria replacement and generally soak up the Malaysian sun.
Mark Rickett, who opened his Proton dealership, Ainderby Road Services in Northallerton, North Yorkshire in May, said that it had been:
"A wonderful trip and experience that allowed us the opportunity to meet some key people from Proton who are very serious about the long term future of the brand."
The CEO of the newly opened Tanjung Malim plant, Datuk Kamarulzaman Darus welcomed the dealers to the new plant, which is situated on a development called Proton City. Tajung Malim Plant currently produces the GEN-2 and the Savvy and will soon begin manufacturing the Satria Replacement model (SRM). Dealers took a full tour of the plant and then had the opportunity to drive the highly acclaimed, Savvy, which was launched in Malaysia in June.
Newly appointed dealer, Paul Clist, Managing Director of Clist & Rattle Ltd in South Bristol commented on the trip,
"I was very impressed by the factory and its potential for growth. The Savvy is great fun to drive and very stylish. The ride is well balanced and the power unit is well adapted to the car. There is ample head and legroom for a six-footer and the rear accommodation is generous. I think it will be a winner!"
Dealers also visited the Shah Alam factory, which is the main Proton plant, housing an engine and transmission factory, casting plant, R & D centre and a semi-high speed test track. It was here that the dealers had their first chance to view the new three door supermini, the SRM.
David Dearden (Managing Director of Robinsons Rochdale), who joined Proton last month, said,
'We had been quietly impressed with the standards of the new Protons we had examined in the UK prior to making our investment in the brand, however after our recent visit to Protons new facility at Tajung Malim Plant, we are very happy that we have made the right decision. The new models coming on stream look excellent and no one could fail to be impressed at the level of financial investment that Proton have made. All in all we are extremely pleased.'
Simon Park, General Sales and Marketing Manager commented,
"We are extremely pleased with the dealer trip to Malaysia. The expansion of the network is key to the future success of the franchise. All the dealers were impressed by the state of the art Tanjung Malim plant."
All Proton dealers are currently enjoying Proton's 'Cars to the People' events programme which began on 16th July in Exeter.