Geely to buy controlling stake in Proton…

Lotus also includes an engineering division that sells sports vehicle technology to other businesses.

Previous Proton owner, DRB-Hicom is yet to issue an official statement with regard to the sale.

The two parties signed the agreement at a ceremony in Putrajaya witnessed by Malaysia's Second Finance Minister Johari Abdul Ghani.

REUTERS AND other outlets are reporting that Chinese auto maker, Geely, the parent of which also owns Volvo, will acquire 49% and thus control of Proton.

Proton has a ready capacity in its plan located in Tanjung Malim. The company has two Malaysian plants with an annual capacity of 400,000 cars, now running far below maximum output.

The deal with Proton will offer Geely access into the key Asean market, and also R&D and manufacturing presence in the region.

"Our intention was always to ensure the revitalisation of the Proton nameplate. This deal will be the catalyst to elevate a brand that Malaysians resonate with", said DRB-Hicom group managing director, Datuk Sri Syed Faisal Albar.

The Chinese carmaker says it is "committed to supporting the transformation of Proton and Lotus" with its expertise, and aims to "build Proton into the most competitive brand in Malaysia and a leading brand in Southeast Asia".

A major stake in Lotus could soon pass into the hands of Chinese automaker Geely, owner of Volvo, Lynk & Co and its own Geely brand, if a report out of the United Kingdom proves accurate.

  • Leroy Wright