Malaysian Prime Minister Dato` Sri Mohd Najib bin Tun Abdul Razak has officially launched the much anticipated Proton Exora, Malaysia’s first home-grown multi-purpose vehicle (MPV) last night.

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Unveiling the new MPV with the Prime Minister were PROTON Holdings Berhad Chairman Datuk Mohd. Nadzmi Mohd. Salleh and Managing Director Dato` Haji Syed Zainal Abidin Syed Mohamed Tahir. Former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamed, the person instrumental in launching the national car project in 1983, was also present with Tun Siti Hasmah Mohamed Ali to witness the launch.

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The launch was attended by several Cabinet Ministers and Deputy Ministers, foreign dignitaries and other distinguished guests.

The launch marked a milestone not only for PROTON but for the country as well as the Exora is Malaysia’s first locally produced MPV encompassing almost 90% of local parts and components. The Exora is also the first wholly “Malaysian-Made” MPV from design and concept to engineering and manufacturing by PROTON.

The Exora emphasizes the three main feature elements – comfort, performance and safety, which were translated into the design and quality of the vehicle. PROTON Holdings Berhad Chairman Dato` Mohd. Nadzmi bin Mohd. Salleh described the Exora as PROTON`s answer to the needs and requirements of PROTON customers who are more discerning.

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“PROTON is now venturing into the MPV segment which has grown in popularity. The Exora will be our answer for the customers out there who are now more conscious about comfort and safety of their family members while traveling. It is designed, engineered and manufactured based on research and market studies made by PROTON over the years,” said Dato` Mohd. Nadzmi.

Dato` Mohd. Nadzmi added that the introduction of the Exora indicated the advancement of the Malaysian automotive technology as it is locally produced from ground up, from the initial R&D activities right through to the design and production processes. “Being one of the pioneering team members who helped set up PROTON 25 years ago, I am indeed very proud of the achievements made by the PROTON family who have turned a vision into a reality,” he added.

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“I am certain that PROTON will not stop here, but will continue to improve and increase its efforts to ensure it remains relevant and able to compete with other established global car makers,” said Dato` Mohd. Nadzmi.

Meanwhile, PROTON Holdings Berhad Managing Director Dato` Haji Syed Zainal Abidin Syed Mohamed Tahir said the Exora was an engineering feat for PROTON as it was developed in merely 18 months from the time PROTON fixed the design (model-fix) to production stage. “This feat has gained us much respect from our peers in the automotive industry,” he said.

“It indicates our success in not only producing cars but also in developing a pool of capable and experienced engineers and skilled workers in the Malaysian automotive industry. We have proven that the impossible is now possible with hard work and determination.

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“The Exora meets our aspiration to produce the right car at the right time and at the right place. Malaysians have already warmed up to the Exora ever since the booking for the MPV was opened on 21st February 2009. So far, we have received more than 2,500 bookings and this is a very encouraging development for us. The level of trust given by our customers towards the MPV is heartening,” said Dato` Syed Zainal.opment

“Don’t take our word for it. Please do come over to any of the 293 Proton Edar and EON sales office nationwide to see and experience the Exora yourself,” added Dato` Syed Zainal.

The night also saw the first four Exora owners receive their keys from the Prime Minister and driving home in their brand new Exoras. The Exora owners were three early bird customers, Syed Mohd Lutfi bin Syed Hamzah, Ramamuthie a/l Varathan and Teng Kim Hong and winner of the MPV Naming Contest, Norsholihan binti Abd Eaanich.

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The Exora features the 1.6 CamPro CPS engine with 4-speed automatic transmission and is available in two variants, Medium-Line at RM69,998 (OTR) and High-Line at RM75,998 (OTR), with 2 airbags as standard. The Exora is available in six colors – Pyrite Brown, Gaia Blue, Genetic Silver, Tranquility Black, Blue Haze and Solid White

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*All pictures taken from the Exora browsure.