Proton came about in 1983 as the need for a Malaysian manufacturer became evident, the company was setup with help from Mitsubishi, however that partnership ended in 2004. Proton entered the Australian market in late 1995.
The company which is partly owned by the Malaysian government (43-percent) also owns Lotus, so while we are not all that concerned with Proton going bust (even though we like the Gen.2) - the future of Lotus also hangs in the balance.
Volkswagen was a little more optimistic, stating that talks would continue to find a mutual agreement. Of course Proton doesn't only have to look to the Germans for money, there is also the possibility that GM (which has seen its fortunes turn for the better) will buy into Proton.
With cheap cars set to come in from China and India in the next 5-10 years, the future of other "cheap" manufacturers is on the line. Will the quality of cars from China and India match those of the Japanese and Koreans (and in this case, the Malaysians)? Most probably not.
Even so, since history has a tendency to repeat it self, it is more than likely that in the next 10 years, Japanese Cars will sit alongside European cars, Korean/Malaysians cars will become the next Japanese cars, and Chinese cars will become the new Korean cars.