As reported by TMR last month, China’s Geely (parent company of Volvo) was interested in purchasing Malaysian brand Proton (which in turn owns British sports car specialist Lotus Cars).
However the South China Morning Post reports Geely President An Conghui has confirmed the company is walking away from that plan.
Geely has just announced a record profit in 2016 of $US739-million and is set to launch its new SUV brand Lynk Co (a co-development with Volvo) as it increases representation in South-East Asia – and its target of becoming a top-ten global automotive brand.
The Proton deal includes the Malaysian company’s Tanjung Malim assembly plant which has an annual production capacity of 1540,000 vehicles. Proton is seeking a strategic partner on the back of declining sales and financial performance – the Malaysian Government advanced the company $US384.9-million last year.
Geely’s departure leaves France’s Groupe PSA as the sole suitor for the Malaysian/British conglomerate.
And reports suggest PSA may be interested only in Proton in order to gain access to ASEAN markets and would offload Lotus to Geely.
A ‘curve-ball’ in this plan may be PSA’s recently-announced purchase of Germany’s Opel and Britain’s Vauxhall from General Motors for $1.38-billion – raising questions about the funding of the proposed Proton/Lotus purchase.
However a report in North America’s Automotive News three days ago flagged the possibility of Jaguar-Land Rover in-turn buying Vauxhall from PSA.
A lot still to happen in this space – stay tuned.
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