Proton Holdings Bhd is back in the red again, with a Q1 2006 loss of RM58.65 million on RM1.42 billion revenue, higher than the corresponding quarter last year, where Q1 2005 losses were RM12.35 million on RM2.05 billion revenue. RM58.65 million is almost quadruple the amount lost in Q1 2005.

Proton Holdings Bhd said the losses were due to declining car sales and a lack of fresh model line-up. Q1 2006 sales were 32,200 cars, compared to Q1 2005 sales of 44,367, a drop of 27 percent. While cost cutting measures have been implemented and have been bearing fruit, promotional and marketing costs have risen, expected since Proton introduced a new model recently, the Proton Satria Neo.

In overseas markets, The Jakarta Post reports that PT Proton Edar Indonesia is in negotiatons to sell off it’s USD24 million plant in West Java to PT Bajaj Auto Indonesia. Initially Proton planned to rent the plant to the PT Bajaj Auto, but now it is in talks for a sale. Because of AFTA, new tax rates between Proton and Indonesia has rendered the plant an ineffective asset to keep. PT Bajaj Auto Indonesia manufactures two and three-wheeled motorized vehicles from India in collaboration with Kawasaki.

Other than PT Bajaj Auto Indonesia, Indonesian Kia Carens and Kia Big Up assembler PT Kia Mobil Indonesia and a Shanghai-based automotive company had also shown interest in the USD24 million plant.

[ UPDATE: Proton says Indonesian plant not for sale! ]