Early this year, this blog have speculated that the replacement for the Proton Waja model could very likely be coming from Mitsubishi. After the failed VW merger talks (mainly due to the last minute "stunt" from the Malaysian government), it is very unlikely that any other foreign partner will want to waste time in any further negotiations with Proton. New model development easily runs into hundreds of millions, and after spending money on Persona and MPV, it is unclear if Proton still have sufficient financial backing to spend money on development of Waja II. Despite strong sales of the Persona and new Saga, car industry is a volume game and Proton certainly lacks the necessary sales volume to amortise their new model tooling cost and to recoup their invesments fast enough.
The only party who is still willing to work with Proton is Proton's former technical partner Mitsubishi, which have a relatively good working relationship with Proton.
Today, Proton's Managing Director Syed Zainal Abidin revealed this to the press :
Proton Holdings Bhd and Mitsubishi Motors Corp have agreed on a product collaboration that would see Proton source a vehicle from Japan to replace the Waja and Mitsubishi take the Persona and Proton’s upcoming MPV (multi purpose vehicle) to be marketed as Mitsubishis in certain markets.The small hatchback should be the next generation Savvy. Sales of the current Savvy has been poor in Proton's home market. But in neighbouring Thailand, the Savvy has been relatively well received, even beating Proton's own relatively modest expectations.
The agreement would also see Proton and Mitsubishi Motors jointly develop a small hatchback car that is slated to be introduced after 2010.
Related link : Waja Replacement Model by 2010