Europe’s largest automaker is considering of putting in a new bid for Malaysia’s Proton in order to tap into the growing southeast Asian market. But perhaps the more interesting story here is that Proton owns iconic British sports car maker Lotus, which could consequently put the Lotus brand under Volkswagen‘s already impressive umbrella of brands that includes likes of Bentley, Lamborghini and Bugatti.
Back in 2007, the German automaker failed to form a relationship with Proton, but may be looking to grab itself a minority holding or even a controlling stake in Proton now. Currently, Volkswagen assembles its Passat model in partnership with DRB-HICOM in Malaysia, but plans on expanding that to include the Jetta and Polo models.
Undoubtedly, VW cannot risk not having a major presence in the southeast Asian market, which Toyota has done extremely well in the past few years. Previous talks of a bid fell apart when Malaysia’s Prime Minister, Mahathir Mohamad, who is also a Proton advisor, recommended that the company must remain in Malaysian hands. Back then however, Proton was state owned, but Malaysia’s state investment sold its 42.7 percent stake to DRB-HICOM back in January.