Founded in 1993, the Perusahaan Otomobil Kedua Sendirian Berhad (Second Automobile Manufacturer Private Limited), or simply Perodua, is the biggest carmaker of Malaysia, just on top of Proton, the other large manufacturer in the country.
Compacts and superminis are what Perodua specializes in, not to compete with Proton, and it is a known fact that the company doesn’t use in-house built or designed components like engines or transmissions for its cars. Even from the beginning, the company used Daihatsu parts, as the latter held a 20 percent stake at launch.
In 1994, the Prime Minister of Malaysia officiated Perodua’s manufacturing plant’s opening ceremony, while the first model, the Kancil, rolled down from the assembly line just 28 days later. By the 22nd of December 1995, 50,000 Perodua Kancil were produced, while exports to Brunei Darussalam started the following spring.
One year later, in 1997, the 100,000th Kancil city car was leaving the factory and the same year marked the model’s launch on the UK market. There, the Kancil was sold as the Perodua Nippa, and it was the cheapest car money could buy back then. 1997, Perodua changed its logo, replacing the square badge with a more fluid oval one that still maintains the ‘P’ and the ‘2’ symbols in green and red.
The Perodua Kembara made its appearance in 1998, representing the nation’s first locally assembled four-wheel-drive vehicle.
By 2004, Perodua celebrated its 10’th anniversary. Meanwhile, the Kenari and Kelisa superminis were added to the lineup. More than 500,000 Kancil were sold by the same year.
The following year marked another milestone - Perodua’s 1,000,000 unit manufactured. 2005 was also the launch date of the new Myvi city car, a model that received the Autocar Asean’s Car of the Year Award in 2006.
The most successful model of the time, the Kancil, got discontinued in 2007, and it got replaced by the ViVA model the same year, which later received the Car of the Year Autocar Asean Award in the supermini class.
In 2008, Perodua launched the Nautica 4WD, a short wheelbase version of the Daihatsu Terios. The Malaysian carmaker fully imported it from Japan, but the grille and bumpers were made and fitted in Malaysia. In December that year, the company started to equip its cars with rear seatbelts, a feature never seen on its budget models so far.
The following years saw the introduction of the new Alza compact MPV and numerous facelifts and special edition existing models to gain a global influence. It was another successful badge-engineering project built together with Daihatsu Boon. That model was also reinforced by opening the Perodua Global Manufacturing Sdn Bhd (PGM) EEV factory in the nearby vicinity of the older one. The new facility spanned over 64,000 square meters and had an estimated cost of RM1.3 billion investment to build and equip. By 2020, the Alza was the oldest car in the Perodua’s stable, but it was the best-selling MPV in Malaysia. It was refreshed twice, in 2014 and 2019.
PGM has a capacity of 100,000 units on a single shift, which the carmaker could double, and featured increased automated welding, automatic body accuracy measurement, enhanced dust proofing, and a brighter and quieter environment.
Following the company’s trend to offer budget-priced yet reliable vehicles, Perodua partnered with Toyota right from the start. The Kancil was a re-badged Daihatsu Mira. Later on, Perodua assembled cars for the Japanese brand provided on the Malaysian market.
Perodua also managed to improve the safety of its cars. The 2019 Bezza was the first vehicle from its lineup to receive a five-star ASEAN (Asian NCAP) rating in crash-tests.