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Proton Holdings Berhad has signed a joint venture (JV) agreement with the Lotus Group and China’s Goldstar Heavy Industrial to further expand the presence of the Lotus brand in the People’s Republic of China. Utilising incentives offered by the Fujian Provincial Government, the agreement will witness “an acceleration of the development of Lotus cars in the premium sports segment in China.”

Under the joint venture agreement, a new company will be established with the aim of “undertaking research and development (R&D) activities in the use of efficient and advanced technology.” Said company will also then be tasked to manufacture and market Lotus-branded cars as well as provide after sales support.

“The automotive market in China is the single largest in the world today, and is still growing, therefore it is only natural for an established iconic company like Lotus to embark upon the possibility of expansion, venture into the market and seek the available opportunities, in light of the keen interest shown by the many enquiries received thus far,” said Datuk Abdul Harith Abdullah, CEO of Proton.

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Lotus has stated that it will continue to produce its line up of sports car exclusively at its Hethel plant in England. Earlier this year, Proton inked a three-way agreement between Goldstar and the authorities in the Fujian province to set up a production base for Lotus-badged vehicles.

Partnerships between the Proton and Youngman names began years ago with the Youngman-Lotus joint venture. From that co-op, the Proton Gen 2 and Persona models were rebadged as the Youngman Lotus L3 hatch (Gen 2), L3 sedan (Persona), L5 (stretched Gen 2) and T5 (based on the Gen 2’s platform).