Reports have emerged suggesting that DRB-Hicom could sell a controlling stake in Proton to PSA Group while selling Lotus to Chinese manufacturer Geely.
An unnamed source tells The Star that Geely and PSA Group are the two contenders to purchase a 51 per cent stake in Proton. However, it is reported that Geely may be given the chance to purchase Lotus from Proton as the Chinese company has little interest in purchasing Proton itself.
According to the source, “PSA is ready to invest a lot of money in Proton and build a new plant in Tanjung Malim, Perak. It has presented the best proposal to rescue and expand Proton’s operation in ASEAN.
“Proton is of no use to Geely. It wants Proton because of the auto technology in Lotus. And for PSA, which is strong in sport-utility vehicles (SUVs), it is not keen on Lotus.”
PSA Group and Geely were the only two automakers to submit bids to become Proton’s new strategic partner before applications closed last week.
PSA has the most to gain from the Proton deal as it would allow it to tap into a market where its existing models are few and far between. This would also serve as a lifeline to Proton which has been crippled by financial issues for years.
A split between Proton and Lotus would also be well overdue as reports of the two parting ways have been circulating since 2011.