It is quite likely that you’ve never heard of a car manufacturer named Proton. It’s a malaysian company, building cars since 1983. A handul has been imported to the U.K., France and Germany also, but whatever the country, Proton cars are still a very rare sight in Europe. And none has ever been imported to the U.S.
Nothing wrong with that. You expect a car company to produce for its local market for years, before being able to make products sophisticated enough to please picky american customers. But big news today, Proton, that malaysian little known car manufacturer, will introduce an hybrid model at next month’s Geneva motorshow.
Actually, that new model will not be of malaysian engineering. It sits on an all new italian designed platform, coming from Ital Design (Giugiaro). We don’t know much about it yet, but it should be a serial hybrid, on a raised platform to hide the batteries, and all the electronic stuff.
I’ll see that in 2 weeks in Geneva, but the thing to remember is that, when some established car companies still don’t have an hybrid car, a little known malaysian one may have one before them.