China’s Zhejiang Geely Holding Group, parent company of Geely and Volvo, is set to acquire a majority stake in Malaysia's Proton which also includes control of British sport car firm Lotus.
Geely beat Groupe PSA, Renault, and Suzuki, which as reported by TMR in March this year, were also bidding for the Malaysian firm, if not for the Proton brand, but for Lotus’ industry expertise in composites and lightweight materials.
Previous Proton owner, DRB-Hicom is yet to issue an official statement with regard to the sale.
Geely is expected to boost investment in Proton, helping turn around quality issues as well as providing a more stable supply base from which the Malaysian automaker can develop its next generation of models based on Geely’s platforms.
Geely is also expected to apply Lotus’ lightweighting technologies across its wider range to help it meet more stringent emissions targets in China, according to the Financial Times.
Proton’s right hand drive production facilities will be used by Geely to help the Chinese giant spread its reach across southeast Asia.
Proton sold just 182 cars in Australia in 2016 with Lotus selling 31 vehicles, to the end of April this year Proton (which is on hiatus locally) moved just 11 vehicles beaten out by Lotus with 18 sales so far.