Proton previously announced their new partnerships will be revealed by the end of April. It’s a week into May now, but The Edge has reported quoting unnamed sources that Proton’s new partner will be French automobile company PSA Peugeot Citroen.
Proton and PSA Peugeot Citroen
It’s not known whether talks involve an equity transfer, but what is revealed are plans to jointly develop a small car for the Southeast Asian market that could be marketed under either brand. It is believed that the car would be similiar to the Peugeot 106, which was a small hatchback.
The Peugeot 106’s sister was the Citroen Saxo, which was developed to replace the Citroen AX. The Citroen AX of course, was rebadged locally as a Proton Tiara. The Peugeot 106 has since been replaced by the Peugeot 107 (Citroen C1), which shares a platform with the Toyota Aygo. A small car like this could very well replace the Proton Iswara as Proton’s staple offering for the budget market, if it was a sedan instead of a hatchback. Of course, do not misunderstand the mention of the Peugeot 106. It doesn’t mean Proton will be rebadging Peugeot 106 cars, I think it was just used in the report as a reference as to what car Proton and Peugeot would be building together. PSA Peugeot Citroen’s French competitor Renault has a budget automobile developed together with Romanian car manufacturer Dacia, called the Renault Logan, which is basically a Dacia Logan – a Renault Clio platform with a boot. Peugeot could be thinking along the lines of the same strategy Renault has used to enter the budget car market.
Proton officials could not be reached for comment, but sources say that senior management of both companies have met and a memorandum could be signed in a few month’s time. But PSA is not the only company that Proton is in talks with.
Proton and Volkswagen AG
New negotiations with Volkswagen AG have been on-going, and rumours are that Proton might set up a joint-venture company with Volkswagen AG to jointly develop Proton-badged cars to be sold across South-east Asia and India. Word is that it would be a 49:51 joint venture between Proton and Volkswagen, with Volkswagen having the majority share. Two Proton-Volkswagen JV cars are in the pipelines and they will be based on a Volkswagen platform. When asked about the report, Volkswagen spokespersons repeated what it’s CEO had said previously, that any future plans with Proton would be to support Proton only, with no joint ventures or joint programs.
We’ll have to wait for official news from Proton then on whether these reports are true or not, as The Edge did not name a source for the news. I’m really eager for any new updates on where Proton’s heading, as well as eagerly awaiting the launch of the Satria Replacement Model.