Various officials from within the government have been calling for Proton to continue looking for a foreign partner. The national automaker previously had failed talks with PSA Peugeot Citroen, Volkswagen and General Motors.
The Volkswagen deal would probably have gone through if it were not for Khazanah Nasional pulling out of the talks at the last minute, saying it had to give Proton more time to turn around before any equity/partnership deal could be cemented to ensure a fair deal for Proton.
Bernama reports today that General Motors’ Southeast Asian operations president Steve Carlisle (photo on the left) is willing to restart negotiations with Proton Holdings Berhad on taking up a stake in the company.
This comes just after GM announced it will invest US$445 million in Thailand to build a diesel engine plant next to its existing assembly facility. The new diesel plant will supply inline-4 diesel engines for GM’s trucks in Thailand and global markets.
When contacted, Proton Holdings informed Bernama that it had not been approached by General Motors for any negotiations. Proton also said that since any possible partnership would most likely involve talks of a share transfer, any interest from GM should be directed to its majority shareholder Khazanah Nasional instead.
So there we have it ladies and gentlemen. GM says Proton can come talk anytime, Proton says GM can come talk to Khazanah anytime. Who will make the first move? If talks do restart and a partnership involving stakeholding happens, GM may designate Thailand its truck production center and Malaysia its passenger car output center for cars like the upcoming Chevrolet Cruze.