Proton has entered tripartite joint venture agreement with Britain's Lotus Group International Limited and China's Goldstar Heavy Industrial Co. Ltd. to produce Lotus-branded passenger vehicles in China.
Proton's press release did not specify any particular model that will be produced under the joint venture, but they are likely to be Proton models rebadged as a Lotus. A similar arrangement already exists with another Chinese company, Youngman Automobile Group, which assembles and sells the Persona and Gen.2 in China as the Lotus L3 Sedan and L3 Hatchback respectively.
Proton also did not explain what will happen to the partnership with Youngman, but sources in China have suggested that the agreement with Youngman has already expired and will not be renewed.
Dato’ Abdul Harith Abdullah, Chief Executive Officer of Proton said, “The JV Agreement will see the establishment of a new JV Company for the purpose of undertaking research and development (R&D) activities in the use of efficient and advanced technology. The JV Company will then produce and sell Lotus branded passenger cars as well as provide after sales services in connection with its products in the People’s Republic of China."
Proton also confirmed that Lotus will continue to manufacture its current range of Lotus sports cars (Evora, Exige and Elise) exclusively in Hethel, England.