That Proton has been talking to Volkwagen is one very big open secret, according to reports from the international automotive media, and to quote Autocar UK, "Proton could become the latest firm to join forces with the Volkswagen Group, according to Proton's chairman." Now that's news.
But currently there has been no indication on the extent of the discussions and what could transpire out of it since Mohd Nazmi Mohd Salleh has said at Proton's annual meeting that he chooses not to jump the gun and will only reveal the outcome of talks between the two firms sometime within the next two weeks.
Though there has been no details on the collaboration, there has been speculation going on for years now that Proton could use some of its spare capacity to assemble VW cars, and possibly even rebadge older VW cars as Proton cars.
Responding to the Proton chairman’s comments, VW told Reuters that there was no concrete plans for Malaysia and there were no developments or agreements in place at this stage.
We know what's in it for Proton as there's that big quality problem, so rebadged VW cars does certainly sound good. Sad in a way because it almost seems as if Proton is incapable of building its own "quality" car without external help, but if looked at from a different angle, Proton also stands to gain a lot if it relies on VW's years of accumulated experience in building cars, that just means less to spend on R&D for Proton. But what's in it for VW?
If you recall, in October last year the Malaysian government announced that it was seeking a foreign partner for Proton and it also said that foreign carmakers would be allowed to have 100% ownership of ventures producing cars worth over RM150,000. So here's the situation, help Proton build good cars and VW will be able to set up plant here to service the entire region with possibly even more incentives from the government. Totally in line with VW's expansion plans. Guess we'll just have to wait a couple more days to find out what's happening.
Source: Autocar, Reuters