Proton is suffering worldwide, with sales lower than expected and with stronger local competition in Malaysia, the government owned manufacturer has been seeking a global partner for some time now. So far Volkswagen has been the only one to show interest.
Talks between the two companies have been an on-again off-again affair, Volkswagen initially signed a long-term strategic alliance with Proton in late 2004 but after the Malaysian government refused to hand over control to VW in 2006, the German manufacturer appeared to had given up on Proton, until today.
“The talks with the main shareholder (state investment arm Khazanah) and the Malaysian government will now be further intensified, in order to examine the possibilities of either a cooperation or taking a stake in Proton,” VW announced today.
VW’s announcement comes at no surprise, Proton is desperate to get back into gear. Last November, the Malaysian government began to consider giving approval for VW to take a controlling stake in Proton’s manufacturing operations.