Following the news in September about Proton and Mitsubishi discussing a broad ranging collaboration, Bernama reports that Proton expects to seal a JV agreement with Mitsubishi Motors by year-end to build Mitsubishi sedan models at its Tanjung Malim plant.

The agreement will see the manufacture of 60,000 Mitsubishi units annually, which is about 90% of the plant’s production capacity, Proton MD Datuk Seri Syed Zainal Abidin said, adding that the plant is currently operating at between 56% and 58% capacity.

Syed Zainal was briefing reporters after the announcement of the company’s Q2 2011/2012 financial year results yesterday, which saw the Group recording a lower pre-tax profit of RM47.524 million for the six months ended September 30, 2011, compared to RM185.914 million made in the corresponding period last year.

The lower profit was largely attributed to higher spending by Lotus Group International Limited, mainly on capability enhancement, infrastructure development and marketing costs, in line with its five-year business transformation plan.

Meanwhile, despite a second-half downtrend forecast by the Malaysian Automotive Association, Syed Zainal said that Proton would overcome it with the introduction of its Saga FLX Special Edition in December, the report added.

He said that 2012 was set to be an exciting year for the company, with the introduction of four models, the Exora Bold and Exora Prime, Inspira R3 and the P3-21A sedan.

Syed Zainal also said that Proton is set to expand its presence in the Chinese market – under a memorandum of understanding it has signed with Hawtai Motor Group, it is slated to sell four Proton models under the Hawtai badge.