According to a report by Automotive News Europe, France’s Groupe PSA confirmed it has submitted a bid for a strategic partnership with Proton. The company, along with China’s Zhejiang Geely are reportedly the leading parties to become Proton’s partner.

“PSA Group made an offer and is willing to go further. We have no additional comment at this stage,” a PSA spokesman said in an email. Besides the Malaysian carmaker, the automobile manufacturer is also in talks with GM to take over Opel-Vauxhall.

Analysts say should PSA Group secure the partnership, it would allow for access to Proton’s underutilised facilities to serve as a production and export base. This will help support PSA’s goal of expanding its presence in Southeast Asia (Thailand and Indonesia) as well as other emerging markets.

Meanwhile, Geely has pitched to DRB-Hicom that it will offer Proton some of the latest vehicle technologies it has developed with Volvo’s input as part of the deal. Entry into the global right-hand drive market is to be gained for Geely from this partnership as well as technology-rich Lotus, which is owned by Proton.

DRB-Hicom previously stated (again) that Proton’s strategic partner will only be announced by end of 1H 2017, pending detailed negotiations with the bidders to ensure that they meet three key criteria – which are the strategic, operational and cultural fit. It also said that it will maintain a significant equity in Proton as it is the first national and ASEAN’s only car manufacturer.