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    Proton Exora Prestige Concept.

    After waiting for several years, finally Proton MD announced that the Proton hybrid will be launched in 2011 for mass production.Read the full news from Bernama below.


    BANGKOK, Dec 2  — Proton is hoping to embark on mass production for its hybrid cars by 2011, said its managing director Datuk Syed Zainal Syed Mohamad Tahir Wednesday.

    He said it was being developed through collaboration with its Britain-based subsidiary Lotus and several component suppliers like battery manufacturers.

    “We have a dedicated team at Lotus to develop and test the car using Lotus technology. I tested the cars two weeks and I am impressed with it,” he told Malaysian media on the sideline of the Thailand International Motor Expo here.

    Earlier Thai Deputy Prime Minister Suthep Thaugsuban, who launched the Expo, was given a briefing on Proton’s venture in Thailand and its latest model Exora which hit the Thai market during the expo.

    Syed Zainal said several Exora hybrid cars are currently being tested in Britain and would be shipped to Malaysia by end of December or early next year.

    Under the second stage, Proton would assemble hybrid vehicles as government fleet vehicles, especially in Putrajaya before going for mass production in 2011.

    “This can be expanded to fleet for private sectors like Pos Malaysia, DHL or others who are using big number of vehicles for their business,” he said.

    He said it was part of Proton’s move to support Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak’s initiative to enhance green technologies for vehicles that could pave way for fuel efficiency and a greener environment.

    Asked about the investment involved, Syed Zainal said it was not big as they were working with Lotus and other component manufacturers.

    “We are developing the hybrid with battery manufacturers. By doing so, our investment will not be high,” he said.

    On the pricing, he said it has not been decided yet, but added that it would initially be higher than the conventional models.

    Hybrid vehicles, which deliver power by switching between a petrol engine and an electric motor, can save up to 30 per cent on fuel costs but they are more expensive than conventional models.

    He also said Proton has been developing electric cars since early this year, using models like Saga, Persona and Exora, adding that mass production would take longer as it needed expensive infrastructures like charging stations and power plants.

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