Volkswagen’s head of international sales Kevin Rose says talks between Volkswagen and Proton are now at a fairly advanced stage, and both parties clearly know what they would want from such an agreement. Volkswagen said it would also work within the Malaysian government’s March 31st 2007 deadline.
To Volkswagen, having control of the manufacturing facility is essential. “For us as a brand, it’s important that we can always say made by VW, or built by VW. Even in China, where for legal reasons we are a minority partner, we still have great control over the production, assembly, design of our products, and that’s incredibly important for us,” stressed Rose. Without that manufacturing control, the partnership will not happen. I sincerely hope with manufacturing control comes supplier control and the license to show problematic suppliers the door, regardless of know-who. Nevertheless, Rose is confident the partnership will be agreed on soon, perhaps even next week.
One of the first steps that Volkswagen will take once the partnership is finalised is to introduced a new small sedan targetted at the Asia-Pacific region. This type of regionally targetted engineering is something similiar to Toyota’s ASEAN Hiace/Hilux/Innova/Fortuner platform, or Nissan’s Livina Geniss. This new Volkswagen small sedan will be made in Malaysia at Proton’s plant. This will be followed by a bigger sedan to mark the opening of Volkswagen’s Singaporean showroom.
12 days, or less than two weeks, to March 31st.