Small-scale Malaysian car manufacturer Proton is developing a new range of in-house engines, including diesel engines for the first time, as part of a strategy to increase its export program. Proton has traditionally relied on Mitsubishi engines, but a new requirement for diesel mill and several petrol units has forced the Malaysian company to look towards new foreign partners to provide it with technology.

Proton intends to sell to export markets such as India, where a high demand for diesel engines means any carmaker looking for success in the rapidly expanding market must have a diesel in its portfolio. As one of the world's fastest growing markets for new cars, India will play a vital role in Proton's global strategy if it is to succeed.

New engines are not the only developments taking place at Proton - new models are being unveiled in 2009, including Proton's first MPV as well as updates on the 'Persona' and 'R3 Satria'. The Malaysian carmaker, who also owns Lotus, is a strong leader in its home market due to government taxes and restrictions on foreign makes.

Despite the high levels of protection, Proton’s longterm viability will depend on whether it will be able to secure a large scale export program.