The Satria Replacement Model – aka as ‘SRM’ – is a model which the public has known about for at least 2 years and numerous spy shots have been taken of it (strangely Proton’s Head of Legal has never made good the threat to sue anyone showing pictures of its prototypes) and it was to have been launched in the final quarter of 2005. That was what the former CEO had said but 2005 ended with no SRM to be seen in the showrooms. Apparently, the launch date was postponed because a review had been made around the middle of 2005 and changes were needed in certain areas because they had been too ‘personalised’. It was also very clear that build quality was a serious issue with customers and it had to make sure the new Satria would arrive in showrooms without parts getting loose or breaking. So extra effort was put in to ensure higher quality and this required a bit more time. The Savvy had turned one corner in terms of build quality and it was very important that the next model prove that this could be maintained.

Today, the SRM finally gets launched as the Satria Neo, eleven and a half years after the first generation made its debut. Actually, the first Satria was not originally a Proton project; it had been developed as an initiative by USPD, then a joint-venture between Proton and DRB (today, USPD is part of Proton and called Proton Edar). The initiative impressed the PM (then) so much and won USPD the right to become a second Proton channel (besides EON) which would sell ‘sporty’ models like the Aerobacks, Putra, Satria and the short-lived Tiara. In fact, USPD was so ambitious that it even made the Satria and Tiara itself at the DRB plant in Pekan, Pahang, rather than at Proton’s factory.