Talks of some kind of business deal between Proton and Volkswagen have surfaced in the papers again, this time on a car assembly deal for passenger cars without taking up stake.
Volkswagen have already identified a base in Indonesia for the Touran MPV, but they have also been looking for a way to assembly their passenger cars here in Malaysia. Other than Proton, DRB-HICOM was also a potential partner name that came up in the past.
Datuk Syed Zainal confirmed sometime last week that Proton was indeed in talks with a foreign car company and hoped that something can be agreed upon before the end of the year. He did not mention which company this is, but in a Reuters report a Volkswagen spokesperson managed to be reached for comment and he confirmed that they were in talks with Proton. According to the spokesperson, the confirmed plant in Indonesia was not sufficient to serve the entire ASEAN market – it looks like they’re planning to come to this region in a big way!
These talks with Proton could be the reason why the reviewed NAP announcement has been pushed to the end of next month instead of being announced this month as previously indicated. “It’s a complicated matter. We cannot rush,” said MITI minister Datuk Mustapa Mohamed. Proton is of course at the center of the Malaysian automotive industry, thus most decisions will actually surround the company.
The foreign car company was referred to by Datuk Syed Zainal as potentially Proton’s “missing link”, which means the talks could extend beyond Proton being a contract assembler for Volkswagen – Proton could be asking to license or collaborate on certain Volkswagen tech such as platforms or engines, especially diesel engines!