2 years of hard work. And it all came down to yesterday. The latest product from Proton, aptly named Saga, made its world premier yesterday at 5pm local time. The event was graced by the Prime Minister of Malaysia, Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, and was televised nationwide. More than 6000 bookings prior to launch is quite an achievement, especially considering many of them have never even seen the car. The Persona was a challenge to do due to the aggressive development schedule but from a design stand point the Saga was 10 times more challenging. So much hope and expectations are put into this product as it is seen as a strong catalyst to bring Proton back in gear in gaining market share. Life, it seems, is not without its poetry.

I originally penned this design sometime in December 2005 and from then on it was a whirlwind. The media kit states “The new Saga was developed within a record period of 17 months” but for us designers the journey began much earlier. The concept stage was very challenging. From there scale models were built, then full size clay models, followed by extremely accurate verification models. In between all that we also had to develop math models, 3D surfaces, virtual reality environments and countless components. Not forgetting the tedious work involving colour selection, fabrics and textures too.

On another note let me be the first to say that this car is designed by Malaysian designers and not LG Korea as speculated by many. LG does not have automotive stylists! I believe Malaysians should be proud that they have a select group of young and talented designers who can style cars for the masses. We have many engineers in this country but not car stylists. I am extremely proud to be part of this team.

I was at the launch venue till the Road Show flag off from Traders Hotel last night. It’s poignant to finally see the car undisguised on our roads and I couldn’t help but feel a sense of relief that the journey, although seemingly over, is flying to greater heights. I must admit I felt teary eyed as I watched the new Saga break cover… it was indeed a special feeling.

At the end of the show...
My designers and I on the stage after the show.

As I write this, the new Saga is making its rounds around the country and being scrutinized to the smallest detail. I have read many blogs, reports and articles about this car over the last 24 hours and it seems to be quite positive (there will always be skeptics and bashers but that’s another story…). The showrooms are packed to the brim with curious people, some genuine buyers while others just want to be part of the analyzing public. Whatever the case, if you have the time may I suggest you have a look at one and decide for yourself. Don’t just pass judgement by listening to people around you.  Pass judgement by being objective and not influenced by past experiences.

I shall end this entry by saying the same thing I told the RTM newscaster yesterday, “This car represents the aspirations of many Malaysian i.e. that the opportunity to progress to greater heights is always there for all of us. But only if we pull together, focus passionately and execute to the best of our ability. We will  succeed.”


109 thoughts on “The All New Proton Saga 2008 aka BLM

  1. Thanks Azlano for providing the original sketch of the Saga, I apologize for grabbing it and keep it under the SAGA collection in my pc.

    I can read a complex feeling in between the lines. I believe it is just like how parents would feel on the wedding day of their daughter. A mix of relief, happy and felt something is missing somewhere.

    Congratulation for all the hardwork put in in making the return of PROTON. I myself is also very delighted to see most blogs/forums are filled with positive comments on the new car (as compared to usual proton topics which will be bashed blindly by people).

  2. yiheng -> hi! thanks for reading my blog! i am glad you sense the euphoria i’m feeling as it is more than words can explain… keep tuning in! 😉

  3. reading this entry make me feel proud to be a malaysian. we also have engineers who knows how to make a car! it’s only a matter of time before we make a really good car that matches the best in the market! 😉

    those who know the story and hard work behind this car will appreciate it very much! just like i do now! congrats.

  4. aaron tan -> not only engineers k, stylists too! rest assured we will do our level best to give Malaysians what they deserve! thanks for dropping by!

  5. its been a great time watching the SAGA come to life again from my spy within proton vendors and Proton Admin staff. so u are the designer who create this basic car for our ppl, and i can say its a very good job that u ave done! i noe there are restriction by using the savvy base and exceeding it to become a sedan. personaly i think the overal side profile should use some more refinement especially on the rear window. i was hopping to see much more stroke lines like those one that ave on beemers and the latest lancer but that should give proton more costing to produce it rite?

    i ave sat in the BLM lastweek and i`m quite fond of it and like it, it just the plastic should ave some more surface finishing and much2 darker color n softer plastic.

    can i noe what references that u use to come up with this styling other than our current waja and gen2 design? and what the ppl could aspect from the new MPV 2009 styling?

    i was a transport majoring in industrial design, so every of Proton design has been my main focus because im proud of what we malaysian can create and design even we are still learning and ave alot of restriction…

  6. pemerhati -> TQ!

    Firdaus -> as a designer i’m sure you know that for every design there are limitations be it for trimmings, accessories or finishing. we did a lot of research, surveys and experimentation before fixing this style. we wanted it to have a European look and feel. and our future MPV? it will truly be the nations first “MALAYSIAN PEOPLE MOVER” in every sense of the word…

  7. okey i understood…cant u just leak out any clues on how the mpv would look like? i would really like to see the mpv got some toyota caldina + wish + gen2 styling in it! and plz make it a low-slung mpv 😀

    can i ask, is there going to be a H-line model for the BLM? with much nicer interior trim and EDB+ABS+small skirtings?

  8. Hi Azlano,
    congrat for the newly born Saga-inilah destinasi saya. Actually, i need your response regarding the new Saga and other Proton car as well.
    -About dashboard color scheme-most of the feedback prefered dark colored compare to the present light grey. On what basis the color scheme was selected for BLM.

    -About Waja rear light…To be honest, the thermometer inspired tail light is really beyond my imagination. it was really off styling. I think you guys can do better than this. Just want to know how you all come to conclusion in choosing this design. (and the front grille styling look like made in china car)


  9. hi azlano.
    i think your team made a gud job for this new saga. i hope the new waja facelift will be nicer and sporty. i juz want to ask u, it true the mpv will launch next years? i heard for perdana replacement model proton use lancer body and make a few changer. it is true? thanks

  10. Firdaus -> if i tell you what you want everytime then i will certainly need to look for another job soon! hehehe…

    rain -> colour selection is a very personal thing but our methods are based on consensus, surveys and trend studies. the Vios & City have light beige interiors, but nobody complains publicly. maybe because the Saga is a Proton therefore it is always more critically analyzed? …

    fivezal -> it’s public that Proton endevours to launch the MPV next year. we’ll just have to wait and see! wrt your next question, kindly refer to my answer to Firdaus above… 🙂

  11. Syabas..Bravo.. good job done on Saga.
    I wish if you could redesign the tail lamp for Gen2 and Persona. I just less prefer the turn signal/reverse light which looks like a half batman wing.
    The unused red edge could be used as turn signal lights with LED. Or redesign the whole thing. Use the latest trend LED lights.Thanks

  12. Hey there Azlano!! Congrats for the launch of new Saga!! Haha, the MANAGER himself blogging about his work? You’re a cool dude, man!!

    Indeed, I get a bit phobia seeing beige trim interior on any car since Gen.2 gave me the nightmare, but of course, if it’s from Toyota/Honda, who’d say it sux?

  13. Btw, regarding the new Saga, the door stalk’s (or whatever it’s called, the one to lock/unlock the door) able to go inside the car door if pushed in too deep, is that normal? I noticed that while viewing it at Carrefour Subang…..

    Btw, u hv sinusitis problem? What I suggest is to eat 2 mentos gum arctic mint flavor at once, that’ll definitely clear your nose instantly!! Also, you can take cordyceps sinensis daily, you should be able to find them at pharmacies. They’re a good natural form of antibodies, n make sure they’re organic!!

  14. I’ve always ‘felt’ that most Proton was design by uncle minded designer but the new Saga really is a future generation inspired. You guys did a great job!

  15. Sexy Susan :
    thanks dear azlano & styling team
    super duper sex-citing job on the New Saga

    Dopey Dog :
    woof woof … bow wow
    if only the New Saga was a bone,
    DD would bite it and runaway with it

    Savvybaby :
    talking about runaway … New Saga
    seems headed in that direction …
    to be a MEGA-HIT success !

    R2D2 :
    Best Loved Model … Model Loved Best

    C3Pio :
    yup … R2,
    Best Loved Model it is indeed …
    Proton, we have a lift off into space

    Dr Luv :
    with the BLM,
    Boleh Lah Mimpi … may azlano & team
    dare to dream BIG dreams into a new era !

    Altogether Now :
    ” hick hick hooray … 3 times to azlano
    & team … yummmmmmmm sengggg !!!

  16. azlano,

    I have this burning question that i’ve been wanting to ask.. why is the new saga using a monochrome emblem?.. does it have any meaning behind it?.. or just for the sake of design?.. please shed some light here.. as my bulbs are all burnt.. 🙂

  17. thanks for the response..
    you still owe me one answer-regarding the thermometer tail light..

    about your response on dashboard color scheme..to be honest, if i were you, i wont take vios or city as a benchmark.

  18. tokmoh -> i feel the world needs to know… about the door lock knob, it’s designed that way so Malaysians can easily hang their beloved packed drinks! heheh… thanks for the medical tip; i’m using Cataflam & Clarinase now.

    dcrook -> LG is the engineering consultant.

    Slingshot, wazzup & chyan -> Thanks! We hope it will be just as successful as the original Saga (if not better!).

    savvybaby -> where on Earth did you dig those quotes?!

    jufy joop -> it’s a strategic move forward to enhance our corporate image. don’t you just love it?! design wise it looks way cool than the original… 🙂

  19. hav to agree
    the emblem relly looks cool
    i hav a mixed feeling abt this car too but +ve though
    had been keeping up with the progress since early last year since i hav an inside proton friend too
    this piece of machine is sort of his gift to me
    as well…
    since things between us didn’t work out but at least i hav the memories to cherish….n this car resembles it….
    thanks to u guys in proton….u really make us proud to stand up tall as malaysian…

  20. joofy joop…do you mean the new emblem which is Black/Chrome?
    When I booked my Persona I told my wife that the first thing I gonna do is to change the front grille as I don’t like the blue/gold thundercat emblem BUT then when I received my car I saw the emblem is Black/Chrome….. I was just all excited to see it…very very nice…love it and am not gonna touch it..hehhe.

  21. yup thats what i meant Slingshot 🙂 wait you’re saying that your new persona has a monochrome emblem too?..

    i must say that i was quite fascinated by the new emblem.. feels like a whole new generation of proton.. will it be used by all future proton cars?.. is proton gonna use this new ‘logo’ as a corporate logo as well?.. it looks rather classy as compared to the old logo.. well as far as design is concerned..

  22. congrat azlano…
    new saga have really nice design…
    but when actually we can see this model on malaysia road…when will the first batch come out?…really excited to see it…hehe

  23. Great work my man! Now now..any insight news about Neo CPS? If there’s really one Neo CPS perhaps can change the design a bit…haha

  24. Good job. The new Saga is truly the “car for the masses”. I like the monochrome logo and planning to change my persona logo to the monochrome logo. Overall the design is just nice to see and practical to use. Good job to you azlano and all who are involve in making the New Proton Saga

    seems that slingshots and savvy baby is here allready. hehehehe

  25. hi azlano,

    i have a little complicated question in my mind, just gonna express it here if you don’t mind. (hope you don’t 🙂 )

    While we see from most European cars, the lifestyle/the thinking of the people has great influence in the car design (eg. Italians’ passion for life and brave & aggressive designs, French with romantic/elegant/futuristics designs, Germans who has ‘strict’ discipline in the direction of designing , Brits with the ‘royal’ look.
    What do you think should be the Malaysian way of designing? (particularly referring to automotive design)

    Thanks a lot.

    **apologies if I have made any mistakes/wrong fact.

  26. Azlan,

    Kudos for ya baby, BLM new Saga. I have no problem with exterior design BUT the same thing can’t be said for the interior as I aspect it in the same league of Dugong-inspired Vios, next City or Latio.

    YES, indeed all of the peers much pricier here BUT that’s due to tax structure. If Saga Mk II have intention to compete globally or at least regionally, we have to do that. Interior-wise just about Savvy or slightly improve than old Saga.

    The same should be avoided at all costs in MPV, again due to the tax regime otherwise it would be around Wish-Stream Mk II region, Rm47-RM50k in Japan.

    Just it only half of Stream/Wish’s prices so it deserved 1/2 value of the models mentioned earlier is unbelievable. Both the exterior and interior should match if not better than the Japanese duo.

    Otherwise, better we got rebadge Honda Stream and sell it as Proton MPV with RM70k pricetag, if possible.

  27. yiheng -> to be honest, our automotive styling direction is still wide open. as Malaysians we are often described as accomodating, warm and friendly. so this could have a bearing to where our design concepts are heading. it varies from company to company and individual to individual. Proton, in particular, is going the practical way forward by listening to our customers. BUT we will slowly move towards more distinctive designs in the near future, thus creating trends as opposed to just following.

    a hint for everyone…


    the future is certainly looking exciting, don’t you think? 😉

  28. misspurple -> glad to know you’re getting a positive vibe from this car!

    PCB -> the first batch have already been delivered. our roads will soon be filled with the new Saga! 😉

    eric -> i could tell you but then i’d have to kill you! hehe…

    Normal Family Guy -> tq 4 dropping by! say hi! to Slingshot & savvybaby when you’re in MTLand…

    dude -> what field of design are you interested in? Industrial? Graphic? Fashion? Automotive? the field is so wide… there are local schools which offer Degree’s for Industrial Design like LICT, UiTM, UTM & UNIMAS which you can use as a qualification to enter vehicle design/styling. or you can also go overseas e.g. Coventry Uni or RCA in the UK, and Art Centre in California. most importantly you must have PASSION for design. a ‘can do’ attitude is also important, especially in Malaysia, since art & design is not commonly recognised as a high paying job here *sigh*…

    Karl -> economics of scale has its virtues… and so does government intervention. we cannot dwell into something we cannot control; we have to deal with the hand we’re dealt. this is the country we live in so either get with it or move away. it’s as simple as that. thanks for your opinion though…

  29. Err…..I mean, when the door is locked, the knob sinked INTO the hole it occupied rather than ‘floating’ a bit to make it possible to hang teh tariks. It looks more like it can’t pull itself out n up without trodding it with a pen or something.

    Happily however, that’s the only fault I can see with the interior, which I suppose is very minor n easy to settle using a pen, also, its + points is enough for me to say that I love the new Saga almost as much as I love my cute 17-year-old Saga!!

  30. Btw, Azlano, do u mind if I ask where do u graduate from? Industrial design, eh? Sounds very interesting, is that the course you took? Aside from err…..designing, is it a lot about physics and maths?

    Though I have to say, I’m beginning to miss some of the lunacies Proton cars used to have wit the waja, gen2, savvy n satria neo, like the odd-numbered speedo (in waja n gen2) ala Merc AMG, the pirate sword hand brake, and door handle in the waja n gen2 (a ‘stick’ to hold on, rather than the small hole big enough to put in fingers n small change), which is BMW-ish 😛 Is being practical…..means these uniqueness rarely found in most cars out there have to be sacrificed?

    Today, in NST’s CBT, somebody SMSed abt Proton shud’ve kept the wau bulan grille, just like how BMW, Merc n Alfa maintained their grille as their distinctive identity. Somehow, I can’t help but to agree with him a little bit, what say you?

    I’m not trying to dictate you, in fact, most would agree the new Saga’s grille looks great, but perhaps, these could be some points you can consider. Let the bashers say the hand brake is ridiculous when gen2 came out, but I liked it because it makes me say “Hey, nobody thought of that before, isn’t that cool?” Though, I do think painting the dashboard beige n removing the glove box is a bit too far…..

    I’m happy to know where Proton’s design team is heading, and I definitely think it will be exciting, it’s just that perhaps, some lunacies in the past which don’t interfere with practicality should be brought back, possible? that way, Proton cars can always have “a little extra something” no bread-and-butter car can offer, hehe. Which is what european cars have always been, in contrast to japanese n korean cars. Characteristic, so to speak. In terms of handling, Proton will always have the edge with Lotus’ aid, but in design, some minor bits like pirate sword hand brake, odd-numbered speedo can make a Proton feel very special, much more special than a Toyota/Daihatsu/Perodua, heheh.

  31. tokmoh -> enjoy bro, ENJOY! … i’m proud to say i’m a local graduate for both my Graduate and Post-Graduate Degrees 😉 . Industrial design is an art and a science. Form follows function and vice versa. an understanding of Science subjects is not a must but a definite advantage! (i was a Science stream student in secondary school but decided to do art & design as it was my passion… a definite advantage indeed!).

    can’t agree with the ‘wau bulan’ grille…

    character, idiosyncratic cues and unique styling entities must go hand in hand with practicality. some things just aren’t appreciated by the masses so we must be cautious when introducing unusual things. brand equity also plays an important role in accepting these new things. would BMW have survived Bangle’s ‘flame surfacing’ direction were it not for it’s strong brand? remember, brand equity must be EARNED. therefore Proton must earn it too, albeit in due time.

  32. Azlan I couldn’t agree more with you. We MUST establish our brand equity first, and foremost.

    Just for the sake of very own identity BUT nobody except us bother or aware our identity-not a best idea to project IMHO.

    It’s mile better if we can project following credentials;

    1. Reliable yet acceptable quality car once it bear our brand name,
    2. Economical and enviro-friendly car,
    3. Recognizable, decent styling (look at how Kia ceed, Hyundai Genus et. al)
    4. Good handling, we inherit from Lotus’ tune

  33. Ahh…..I see. So industrial design don’t rly involve calculations of how much force, strain, etcetc?

    Yea, you’re absolutely rite abt BMW, many motor journalists flamed n insulted Bangle for ‘killing’ BMW, but they always say the cars keep getting better. That, it’ll sell better than before due to improved chassis, handling, etc n of course, the brand. Naruhoto, naruhoto……

    So I guess, you guys are rite for playing it safely for now……nden playing it ganas in the future, wakakaka. Gambatte nee~!!

  34. im an industrial designer as well and i totally agree with you that Passion in design is very important.

    actually I used to hope that the new saga is a extended satria neo…it’s just that satria neo is the most sportiest and awesome car from proton!

    nevertheless, the new saga is much better than what i have been expected and i already looking forward for the facelift…kekeke…good job~


  35. Karl -> all the right recipies for a successful car manufacturer!

    jufy joop -> yup.. as of this writing 24k+ bookings encounting!

    tokmoh -> Yatta!! coz we are creative designers, not engineers!

    retrofuturism -> Satria Neo is indeed a cool looking car 😉

  36. azlano, i admire your germanic way of sculpturing the car, lotus simplicity and organised interior of proton

    any clue for the next MPV, is it french or german kind of design flavour? if you wish,

  37. azlina -> it’s not often to find a lady with such eloquence in describing car styling; kudos to you! worry not about the MPV coz it will be simple yet refined! wrt clues, read my other recent posts and you’re surely to get some 😉

    keep tuning in!

  38. just an idea, personally,
    for the mpv i would say, french way of mpv is interesting, (justa personal tought)
    why? because its huge, therefore it does need some quirkyness, making it interesing,
    i dont mind for a proton cars, as clean as audis way, its beautiful, no nonesense and solid within its propotion, one off for savvy of course,(cheeky one), -the whole lineup colorful even batter the audi itself, really id like to have some image clue of the upcoming MPV, (never mind if it too confidential),

    proton is my most admired car, its tangible, affordable ,its part of us,

  39. proton is my most admired car, its tangible, affordable ,its part of us,

    Azlina, if we have many like you, Proton won’t get this far. We need to satisfy ‘majority’ of the rakyat who deserved the best for their hard earned money. Or to make it short and simple: car that please most of eyes in certain market segment(s) as we have limited resource.

    I beg to differ, regarding French design MPV, yes it’s big enough, practical (C4 picasso MPV for instance or even German’s Opel Zafira) BUT we confined to very precise market- family.

    I we look at Wish or latest version of Stream, it sportier look even undermine some sport sedan; cool yet spacious, handling alone will please more crowd instead of bulky European with high driving position and more wind resistance; high Cd figure and increase NVH etc. Japanese can command better opinion and easily to translate better sale.

    Savvy is fine BUT l never see it can take even pricey Viva let alone MyVI!

    My 2 cents.

  40. Azlano – I got an info that Proton bought 7 Toyota Wish to study prior to new Proton Malaysian People Vehicle(MPV) project.

  41. azlano.. as curious as a cat can be… will the new waja cps and gen2 cps get a major facelift too.. i mean apart from the engine?..

    from the spyshots i pulled off from the net.. i dont see them having monochromies emblems..

    or are we getting the same as what have been exhibited at the thai motorshow?

  42. oh azlano one more thing.. not to offend anyone but i seriously think that the gen2 steering wheel looks abit too…. tacky.. and the cute lil buttons seem to be out of place.. dont you think?..

    but i dig the waja interior tho.. excellent styling and finishing.. 😉

  43. thanks for all the info azlano.

    I seriosly like this blog very much. it’s the only place where we can really discuss opinion about Proton without the interruption of Proton bsahers.

    really look forward to the next Proton car.

  44. Hai..its good to know that the idea of new saga come from Malaysian. Bravo and thanks for making the design clean like audi.
    Perhaps the high-line with ABS and more refine interior will capture more market, but then they are Persona for the market segmentation. Only Persona lacks of Campro+IaFM.

  45. hi Azlano, my 1st post in ur enlightened blog!..

    actually, my fren is in proton as an engineer, so i got alot of 1st hand infos regarding on proton models..

    but, only one thing…maybe secretive but i still wanna ask, is ther any 2 different things in term of design philosophy when proton under Tg Mahaleel and current Mr. Syed?

    and where goes the ‘tiger eyer’ of Gen2 and Neo in Saga?..does it make a comeback in proton’s next models?

  46. karl, if i want to talk dissatisfaction, needs, a lot of course, as im the user (years with proton car) and every knows it,

    im here just to appreciate proton styling, not that it want to a citroen or opel, also not that it want to like other japanese,
    personally i dont like to see proton to be just like any other ordinary japanese car or mpv,
    of course im a bit bias toward continental design, even korean is moving towards continental style now,

    what im trying to say, how if french stylist to penned a proton MPV within preset context or need by proton and people, of course its done by azlano to impersonate that,

    like the strange looking savvy for instance, i hate it for the first time, but the more i look at it, its actually brilliant with character,

    its just my tought solely on design and look, since automotive styling part of my interest,

    proton car stylist is brilliant,
    put japanese car next to proton, i rather say proton car rather ‘kemas’ and bold

  47. @azlina

    I’m sorry, bt I think most French MPVs look like they were designed for people who have “given up on life”, that, they were bought by ppl you’d never invite for drinks, gatherings, party, etc anymore, becuz they have a “heavy responsibility”. Korean MPVs apply as well.

    If ever, the MPV designs that I like would be the Ford S-max. It’s the most brilliant MPV to me: spacious thus practical, stylishly “designed” rather than “sketched” during lunch break by a person with mid-life crisis, brilliant to drive rather than making you yawn after taking it around one corner, it’s a pity Ford Msia didn’t bring it here!!

    Another MPV that looks good to me is the Alphard. Now that’s one hell of an MPV that makes you look like some kinda mafia/yakuza, how much cooler can you get!!

    Wish oso looks good to me. Kinda like the cute, baby Alphard, in a way that it looks right in a mafia/yakuza convoy, eheheh.

  48. Oh, in other words, the MPVs that I like doesn’t rly make u look like someone’s who’s “given up on life”. Pretty much the opposite effect rather, hehehe.

  49. Oh, speaking of Savvy, I was told that the “step up” door is inspired by F22 raptop, was it ur idea, azlano?!?! Holy cow, that shud’ve been mentioned right from the day it was launched!! I would’ve appreciated it more like that rather than thinking “it’s weird…”

    I’d thought it would’ve look great on the new saga, but I suppose we dun wan anymore of that lunacy for now, rite? Practical is the way to go currently, yohohoho!!

  50. I’m rather close to Tokmoh when it come to design. But I rather pick Elgrand over Alphard, unless next Alphard and definitely new Elgrand Concept (Nissan Forum concept) with tone down interior design, very much a la Mercedes in 1970s (look at the headrests).

    Imagine if Azlano can redesign new Stream with Euro Civic clues with better and easier dashboard design, especially area below steering wheel. Not much space for long legs.

  51. azlina, Karl & tokmoh -> wrt MPV design, it is interesting to read your ideas & comments. but remember those are your PERSONAL likes; there’s no certainty the buying public will attest to them. that’s the challenge we face as well, but as professionals we make calculated decisions based on research. car styling is an art (therefore very subjective) but there’s also a science behind how we style. putting it bluntly, consumers always want EVERTHING for NOTHING (that’s why surveys aren’t always accurate).

    European styling is very emotional whereas Eastern styling is more practical. At the end of the day, it is a business so revenue is key to move forward. Therefore, will our style be like VW or Renault? No, because our brand cannot carry the burden of being a trend leader. NOT YET. in time, god willing, we will. We won’t be boring either because we know what our competitors are doing so we must match or out do them. We also have a long term plan which we will follow dilligently to strengthen the brand.

    IMHO, C4 = brilliant avantgarde design, Wish = sporty whilst practical, VW Touran = superb quality & build.

  52. Azlano – I think you has given us some clues for the upcoming Proton MPV with mixture of C4, WISH and Touran. I hope so…

  53. jufy joop -> both Thai & M’sia market should have the same variants, therefore the same monochrome topmarks. wrt Gen2 steering wheel, it has been improved (not the buttons though).

    yiheng -> thanks!

    JimJin -> that could be a possibility! 😉

    osh -> every leader has his/her own preference towards design. what’s important is that there’s mutual respect in each others area of specialization so we are free to express what we feel should be the right thing to do. for sure they are differences! … the ‘tiger eye’ is pretty much alive but we choose not to overly use the terminology. it is synonimous with Neo so lets keep it that way.

    theking -> interesting how people formulate conclusions, don’t you think? 😉

  54. therefore with respect i ll leave azlano and team to formulate the finest of our up coming proton models, represent people and him and his proton design philosophy,
    i put my believe, azlano and team did countless research in malaysia and abroad beyond our perception, where his keen in automotive styling very capable putting togather automotive history , art , science, and future society, into the finest creation,

    by the way azlano, we heard from the news there will be 2 or 3 up coming models, for sure 1 is the MPV, it will be due by the early 2009, may i know its stage of development now, 2009 is not far actually my prediction is that the design has been finalised already, true?
    i think proton shoud come up with teasers like several early sketch or concept development to stir some excitement, and i never encounter proton design ever happened to open to public (ill be one of the participant) just the feel a kind involvement between people and proton regardless age, but of course proton have you as a designer to rely on,

    the very last q.
    will the MPV have the grille design somewhat of the new SAGA or late GEN 2 carryover these style which i say its classy depicting from the history (classic car) -a straight to the bottom radiator kind of, (audi vw somewhat..)

    another very last q.
    other new replacement this year is satria GTI replacement,

    thank you azlano

  55. Sound very interesting, especially Wish inspired proton next midi MPV. I agree with you my preference nothing to do with vast majority of buyers’ taste.

    But C4 and Touran designs yet to easily accepted by the crowd in this category. These two too boxy and van-like. We have tendency toward estate-wagon styling unless in the true people mover market, the likes of Estima, Alphard, Elgrand or Elysion.

    Perhaps, this tendency drive by the FC-concern as this is somewhat gas-guzzling. I guess, if we can provide excellence FC from advance diesel technology (VW, Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Peugeot-Citroen and Ford have advantage in diesel technology) PLUS government ready to improve one of the worse diesel quality in the world (read: Malaysia) despite of Malaysia one of the largest manufacturer of cleanest diesel, THEN boxy or more practical yet spacious MPV/midi MPV is possible.

    Until then midi MPV is best as it can suit many component lifestyle: from home to office, balik kampung etc–clearly Wish-Stream style. Even Mazda5 not achieve sales of both models.

    Again I agree with Azlina, Azlan team can be trust to accomplish this job BUT Proton still need feedback from public through concept or leak photo before the product was finalized to each parties. Otherwise, TOO LATE to rectify any pitfalls (if any). Remember, NOW automotive players were squeeze with immensely competitive competitions as well as cost-constraints for small players like Proton.

    My humble opinion.

  56. hi azlano,

    just curious, is there any chance an accounting graduate can work in Proton RnD or Proton marketing? Do you know any dept which would like to recruit such people in Proton?

    thanks 🙂

  57. Why not we have a informal session, perhaps over a teh tarik somewhere in Hartamas or Shah Alamwith our revered designer?

  58. hi Azlan,

    good job with the new proton saga…

    as much as i like reading all the good comments in the blog.. im still too skeptical abt getting the car since its gonna b my 1st car. the only drawback abt the car is 1.3l engine, bcoz of this im having 2nd thought whether to get this or a persona. i like the design of saga though. is there any 1.5l or 1.6l model coming up in the future?

    i can use ur help for reference.

    do drop me a mail…

    thanks azlan.

  59. azlina -> the 2 to 3 models mentioned in the media is inaccurate. how do you define ‘models’ right? just know that the MPV will be the next big launch, with potentially the new Waja up next… i think it is clear Proton is not moving towards a corporate face on its cars (like BMW or Merc). this will allow it to have more freedom of creativity across its product segments… Satria GTI replacement?? hmm, where do you guys get these kind of information? 😉

    Karl -> Germanic designs are practical designs. Research shows that, by and large, Malaysians today favour practicality before style (unfortunately). I agree with you that Touran is a rather boxy design but it is one of the best selling mid-size MPV’s in Europe. If it weren’t too expensive and have more service centres here I’m sure they would also fill out roads. Have you driven one? I have and I have also been to the Touran assembly plant in Wolfsburg… the quality control is amazing. Very economical car too. Indeed, mid-sized MPV’s are the more affordable people movers for our culture; lower cost of ownership. We are always listening!

    yiheng -> Proton is always looking for talented & passionate people who can contribute to the organization. In fact, we just had a mass recruitment drive yesterday! Accounting grads can apply for positions in Finance, Accounting (obviously), Corporate Planning, Group Purchasing and Internal Audit. Head on to http://www.proton.com for more information.

    Steve -> hi there, welcome to my blog. We use industrial clay sourced from Japan & Germany. They aren’t the Chavant type. Personally I prefer the Japanese clay as they are smoother, therefore blends easier, and are less oily. They also come in a nicer colour! btw, informative blog you have there…

    seeni -> buying your first car will always be daunting so do your research well and buy within your budget. remember, a car is a depreciating asset from the moment you sign the dotted line! just like electronic gadgets, buy what you can afford now and don’t worry too much about what will come out next (otherwise you’ll never buying anything coz something new is always round the corner). i believe the Campro 1.3 is sufficient for the new Saga but i won’t say anymore coz i’m gonna sound bias. read up the reviews before deciding.

    Saga 1.3 = value for money in its class with acceptable power to weight ratio.
    Persona 1.6 = mid-level luxury with excellent high end torque.

    * whichever you choose, make sure the Campro has IAFM.

  60. thanks for the reply and information azlano 🙂 hope I’ll be able to fulfil the dream of working there sometime soon?!

    looking forward to your book on automotive designs 🙂

  61. Thanks azlano,
    That clear the rumors a bit, and I ll reset my course herein,
    Germans car is generally practical, definitely, and I would also say its design is ‘pristine’, where less lines but great visual impact for exterior. And it would contradict with who are looking for more radical and flashy swooping busy design, but there will always be a middle ground,
    For me,I would say a clean and pristine appearance of an audi is most appreciated,
    but still we can add with a bit of spice into german dishes,

    I don’t have a good example, but bit of mix and spice to the dishes will give a new flvour as a whole. I would take an alfa 159 for example (although not a german fleet),
    159 now is smoothen as if its germans but its Italian accent stays like its prominent grille, projectors light and Italian interior. Therefore what comes to my mind is that the sexy Italian now looks smartly perfecto, A very tidy Germanic and charismatic,
    and I would say this hybrid style is somewhat a norm braking is rather now quite interesting,

    and not forgetting the german abducted the Italian buggati, thus makes a new composition freshly interesting,

    its just that my personal view of how practicality, perfection, charisma, interlaces in satisfying designers and masses, but of course the masses still have their own way of looking at thing,

    will our next MPV interior dash, will be like hidden flush or blend in speedo or dials, center position as its is very subtlely a drivers oriented as opposed to a car, will be in our near born MPV interior ambiance,

    what inspires you for your design,

    thanks azlano,

  62. @azlina
    Bugatti is French IIANM.

    And Alfa 159 is the SEXIEST saloon in the market today!! So beautiful, u dun care if it breaks down every 2 corners, in fact, u’ll be lookin fw for the next break down so u can view it again n say “Aww, u naughty beauty…”, wakakaka. As Top Gear always say, “U cannot consider urself a true petrolhead until u’ve owned an Alfa. They’re not cars for posers, but for the connoisseurs.”

    But seriously, design-wise, Alfas (other Italian makes dun fall behind that far) are the most expert in making stylish n classy cars. I guess it’s in their Italian blood n culture to do everything beautifully, yohohoho.

  63. Ranggi -> terima kasih kerana menyokong usaha kami warga Proton!

    yiheng -> that book of mine might be a long wait… 😉

    azlina -> Alfa’s do really make beautiful cars. i attribute it to their culture; everything is spirited and passionate. living life to the fullest! … the new MPV will have a practical interior. something for everyone me thinks …

    what inspires me? lots of stuff, from people to nature, from food to cultures, but mostly from experiencing what life has to offer. as a designer, that is important. otherwise, how do you relate to what’s around you? i have to be passionate about life, as that passion will translate itself into the designs i do. sounds heavy, huh?!

    tomoh -> to a certain extent i agree with you but don’t believe everything you read in Top Gear or Autocar. even Mr. Clarkson (as entertaining his wry humour may be). they tend to be too British, therefore bias in their judgement. vary your reading to get better results.

  64. so the walk-in interview did hire some styling designers? can i ask what is the manpower in the styling department?

    anynews own waja next facelift/newmodel?

  65. Dear Azlan,

    People love Conti cars BUT in the same time afraid to have one especially newest models, too sophisticated and incorporated to much advance technology of electronic, or in short dear cost of ownership and heavy lost in resale value.

    Then, the issue of reliability arise, even Mercedes-Benz suffered due to this factors.

    Japanese’s cars NO soul (even mostly revered Toyota) except Lexus, Infinity and some Honda or Subaru and Mitsubishi models) BUT people regardless in North America, South AFrica, Middle-East, Aseans, Australia, Latin AMerica, Afghan, Pakistan, India people easily can accept soulless cars from Japanese marques.

    Why not we have offering of reliable like Japanese tuned to spirit of Lotus driving credentials (if we sure most people will love this elements in their cars) and very frugal and nicely craft unlike Dugong-ness look just because you got reputable brand, isn’t?

  66. firdaus -> no new members yet… we doing fine now but are always on the lookout for talented designers with the passion for action! … btw the new Waja CPS was launched today! a great engine i may add.

    Karl -> the main difference to the average Joe between continental and japanese marques is the cost of ownership. japanese makes will always have better sales due to this, especially when it comes to long term maintenance. next comes reliability. these 2 things play an important role to the AVERAGE Malaysian and this is where Proton can excel.

  67. azlano
    both are mine,
    the sketchey one is a pencil skecth impose a bit by p.shop (guick),

    the estate is totally p.shop ,took me quite some time,

    depend how much time i spent,

  68. @azlina
    Wow, that looked dam real!! So real, I bet if Proton actually do produce a Saga estate, it’ll look EXACTLY like dat!! Perhaps u can start n go design for Proton? lolololol

    Ahahahah, dun worry, I do have my own sense of judgement rather than being a ‘lalang kene tiup angin’, yohohoho. Jeremy Clarkson? He’s never meant to be taken seriously!!

    But seriously, Italy is my fav European country. Aside from their automotive industry, what I like abt Italy is its scenery and most importantly: food. You’ve been in UK, right? I suppose you do know why exactly Jamie Oliver loves Italy: they rly know how to appreciate fresh and healthy foods, unlike British which he describes “hv been eating too much rubbish (instant frozen n fast) food”. In fact, Jamie Oliver even writes a book titled ‘Jamie’s Italy’ IIANM.

    I guess I’ve been watching too much Discovery Travel n Living, heheheh.

  69. tokmoh -> yeah, Italy is nice. been there a few times. the food is amazing! and the ice cream, heavenly! … Jamie is an interesting cook. i was there when he just started to become popular so it’s nice to track his career. all the endorsements have made him ridiculously rich…

  70. Can…but kene $$$ lah 😀

    Last time Proton invite TUV oso edi kene charge like hell, I doubt the Italians will b cheap…

  71. Karl & tokmoh -> as tokmoh said, of course we can but would you really want to after looking at their quotation? it can be ridiculous, trust me (we tried already many times). but just so you know, they do contribute to Proton’s products. it’s just that we can publicly mention it due to contractual reasons.

  72. Anoder thing, if we leave it to Italians, scared they did a Proton Multipla XP…which Simon Cowell described “as if having a cancer” or sumthin close…

    That Fiat MPV is probably gonna be eternalised as Italy’s most embarrassing showcase to the world. For a country which has a reputation as a byword for absolute passion for design, Fiat Multipla could be either: a) Italy’s idea of a joke or b) a what-if outcome of a fish designing a car.

  73. tokmoh -> the Multipla is actually a really neat piece of INDUSTRIAL PRODUCT DESIGN. but for car styling… nah. probably ‘Big Fish’ did it… get it?! (refer to paultan) hardy har har…

  74. Yeah, I guess in design PoV, Multipla must’ve hv some kinda sophistication n meaning, as one would expect from Italy.

    But as a car? Ugh…I feel loya just to imagine it……

    Big Fish, wakakakakakakakakakakakaka!!! Gud one!!

  75. haha.. bigfish is gone from paultan, or maybe he’s ‘retired’ from any topic regarding proton.
    I took Industrial Design too, but hard to find job in that area in Malaysia. Now I’m doing 3D modeling for games. Someone from Proton Design also works at my company.
    hurmm… automotive designer is a very interesting job, even Tranforsmers robots are designed by car designer! coooool… May you achieve that level in the future 🙂 GOOD LUCK!

  76. Tokmoh and Azlano…..fiat multipla is a very nice car lah…its a “babe magnet” car i tell u…..coz everytime we cruise in it…all the babes kept smiling at the driver…

    but I dont know why my little niece kept crying and screaming in fear everytime she saw the car coming….

  77. Dear Azlano,

    I stumbled upon this page and I must say, I’m surprised to know that the new Saga was designed by Malaysians! Why this wasn’t made known by the media?

    Congratulations to you and your team. Good job at first attempt.

    Well, if you need a CMM operator to measure your full size model…*nudge* *hint* *nudge*…hehe

  78. bv2991 -> tq 4 d compliments! i’m sure the message that this car was styled by malaysians for malaysians was sent out to the media.. but unfortunately it wasn’t made into a key selling point i.e. it was more of a fine print that a main headline, if you get my drift.

  79. This is an interesting topic I must say. IMO, the best design is where u can justify it to masses and wins them. The design might be elegant as Jag XKF or practical as Myvi.

    What I like about Proton is they are experimenting and a learning organization [but of course at the cost of customers]. From basic and bare Campro to competent CPS. I hope the organization itself is moving toward world class organization with trademark working culture. Proton is a resemblance of Malaysian working culture and attitude. The failure of Proton is the failure of us as Malaysian I might say.

    Driving 2006 Gen.2 is a bad experience, driving latest Waja is a relief!

    I’ve no comment about Proton’s design to date, the more I look at Gen.2 the more Elise resemblance I see. I love the interior except for the finishing and that only applies to the previous Gen.2.

    1 thing I dislike about current Proton design is the VW bumper, I know other manufacturers are doing it but I guess Suzuki [Swift], Toyota [Wish], Chevy are doing it successfully.

    Look at current Gen.2 and Saga you’ll notice at 1st sight, this is +VW.

    Other than that, I’m proud of Proton cars. When you see and driving the car, you can say this is Proton, not European, Korean or Jap.

    And again, when you go to service center or showroom, you will say again… Oh.. this is Malaysian… heheh

    I agree wth the research saying M’sian go for practicality over design and I must add another point, which is reliability.

    Current best selling car in Malaysia is Myvi. It features fuel economy, space and reliability.

    It is the car for everyone.

    Something that Wira have, long time ago.

    All the best to Proton and Malaysia.

  80. azlano,
    my friend Asni bought one,
    out for lunch togather in her car regularly, its satisfying. different from other 50 thousand ringgit car,

  81. azlano,
    sorry for having putting pictures,
    anyway its only my personal expression of how parts and add on to the original design should respond contextually, or in other word, harmonization or continuity instead of chaos or unfit ,
    so this is my tought of the right way of doing, but its not one big issue, just a matter minor little unimportant that it wont be noticed after all by layman. but for me its – composition.

    (eer its about body kit, so famous on the street now everywhere, but ..i have adifferent reaction on how it should be shaped)

  82. azlano
    having too much posting pictures, i apologise,
    my idea is how to smooth out the rear lamp cluster in relation with the form with the car. and i think its more of a proton theme in character interm of light clustering.
    2nd. for the black moulding is positioned lower replace it with simply black paint or sticker and extended further to the front and rear so its unbroken continuation,

    care to give some crit if you care (shy) ? thanks.

  83. well its been almost 2 years rite since the BLM is sold on our proud roads. i cant wait for its latest facelift and enhancement!

    for me the BLM design grows good and alot of malaysian like it and it is the most hot selling model for PROTON! syabas and well done for those guys at the styling dept!

    i can see now proton are rapidly moving toward a much better design language and management. and many things had change in these few years and i can see proton is very fast to catch up with the global players.

    i hope the best for proton and maybe someday we can sat proudly at the top 3 car manufacturer in the world!

    1. wow, this post/thread is still active after almost 2 years! thanks for your comments and lets work together to bring Proton to greater heights.

  84. Hello there….I am one of saga big fans….i would like to know what is the font of saga SE…coz i check in word there’s no such font SE…so if u r free to help me please let me know the font of “Saga” and “SE”….thank you very much…plus i want to thank to all saga designer engineer and to all proton family over all for the best performance of saga…..go proton and make us proud!!!!

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