Proton was founded by Mahathir Mohamad, former Prime Minister of Malaysia, at Shah Alam, Selangor in 1983. The first car was produced in 1985. The first models were based on Mitsubishi cars Lancer/Colt and Galant/Eterna. The first model designed by Proton was the Proton Impian (or Proton Waja), which was launched in the market in 2001.
Proton was quite successful for a few years, but sales started dropping and in 2008 Proton entered an agreement with Detroit Electric to produce electric cars at very competitive prices. In january 2012 Proton was acquired by DRB-HICOM, a malaysian corporation involved in the automotive manufacturing, assembly and distribution.