2014_Top_Five_Proton_Iriz_MT_ 005

Here is something that’s bound to pique your interest. According to Channel News Asia, Malaysia’s second International Trade and Industry minister, Datuk Ong Ka Chuan, has said that Proton could very well enter into a partnership with one or more China-based car manufacturers in an effort to develop an ASEAN car.

“We have our own policy – Proton car – so we have our own national interest to look after,” commented Ong. “But if we can join with China’s automobile manufacturers, we can together manufacture an ASEAN car for the ASEAN market that’s to the benefit of both countries. We have to look into that possibility,” he added.

However, it should be noted that Ong was speaking in the context of upgraded China-ASEAN FTA (free trade agreement) – of which negotiations are expected to conclude by the end of 2015 – at the 12th China-ASEAN Expo (Caexpo) in Nanning, China. Additional details surrounding the possible tie-up remain scarce.

asean car

Proton Iriz and PT Inka GEA (right).

Separately, it was understood that Proton and its Indonesian partner had signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in February 2015 to intensify efforts to build an ASEAN car. Earlier in 2014, Proton had expressed its interest and willingness to collaborate with regional manufacturers to produce an ASEAN car.

It was also widely believed that Indonesian president, Joko Widodo (also known as Jokowi), is a staunch supporter of the ASEAN car project. In a separate report by Bernama, it was stated that “a feasibility study of a possible joint production of the ASEAN car by Malaysia and Indonesia will be undertaken and it (the idea) was welcomed by President Jokowi who wants the idea to be pursued further.”