Published on October 7th, 2016 | by Daniel Sherman Fernandez0
BAIC, Peugeot, Suzuki or Renault, Which Would You Prefer To Power Future Protons
Proton’s parent company is reportedly looking to sell a majority stake in the brand, with Renault, Suzuki, the PSA Group (Peugeot-Citroën) and most recently China’s BAIC all seemingly interested in a potential deal.
The sale could also affect Proton’s sports car brand, Lotus, which was acquired by Proton back in 1996. According to Reuters, Malaysian conglomerate DRB-Hicom has already sent “partnership proposals” to nearly 20 automakers, with the three listed above apparently showing an interest. Proton currently operates two car factories in Malaysia, with a maximum combined capacity of around 400,000 vehicles per annum. In 2015, the car maker sold just over 102,000 cars.
It’s possible that potential suitors will seek to exploit that spare capacity, and use Proton as a manufacturing hub for South-East Asia. Proton has appointed Malayan Banking Bhd to advise on the sale and company management will head to Japan to meet with Suzuki management next week, followed by meetings with Renault the following month.
Proton already has a business tie-up with Suzuki for a few models to be rebadged starting with the Ertiga compact SUV and so it will make good sense for Suzuki to be the winning buyer. This will give Suzuki a big leap in ASEAN markets.