By on October 30, 2012

Ahead of their crucial announcement outlining the future of Proton, parent company DRB-Hicom (also of Lotus fame) has announced that they will partner with Honda, after a long courtship process that involved numerous auto makers.

An official announcement from DRB-Hicom outlined the partnership agreement

Under the Agreement, PROTON and HONDA MOTOR will explore collaboration opportunities in the areas of technology enhancement, new product line up, platform and facilities’ sharing (“Proposed Collaboration”).

No announcement has come from Honda so far, and the words “joint venture” and “Malaysia” are conspicuously absent, leaving us at the mercy of our collective imagination. Are Lotus-tuned Acuras on the horizon? More likely is the prospect of Honda technology making its way into small cars that can eventually be exported to countries like Australia. And what about low-cost cars, a segment Honda is absent from entirely? Could there be synergy with Proton somehow? Only time will tell.

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7 Comments on “Proton, Honda Announce Collaboration In Malaysia...”

  • avatar

    Key snippets from the announcement, caps mine: “… will EXPLORE collaboration …”, “… signifies the POTENTIAL …”, “… OPPORTUNITIES are endless …”.

    Basically Honda and DRB-Hicom have agreed to talk, it looks like there is nothing more concrete to it at this point.

    • 0 avatar

      Yep, it seems they’ve only signed a MoU. So nothing much at this point.

      Judging from the scuttled VW deal, DRB-Hicom seems to have some resistance to selling control of Proton. But Proton really is at a precipitous position, Malaysia is required under its FTA agreements to remove their protectionist tariffs against other ASEAN nations. But they have resisted, though they will need to do it sooner rather than later.

      The value of Proton is directly tied to the protectionism in Malaysia. It may be that Honda, that hurt by the Thai-floods, is looking to diversify their manufacturing base in SE Asia.

      • 0 avatar

        Agreed. So far all of Proton’s attempts at a tie-up have ended prematurely as they have wanted to have their cake and eat it, too. I can’t imagine who would hand over their technology to Proton without a majority stake.

  • avatar

    have proton unloaded lotus already?

  • avatar

    Hint at Honda in F-1 powering Lotus? That would be interesting. Renault gets enough with Red Bull, the glory of the Benetton/Renault Racing days are over. (Except that Lotus has Kimi!)

    Also, it’s nice to see the old turbo Lotus in pictures again, but that’s Nakajima’s car; Senna had the number 12.

    • 0 avatar

      That’s indeed Nakagiima’s. It’s a 1988 Lotus 100T. #1 was Nelson Piquet’s.

      Joe Saward posted earlier today something about Proton buying Enstone’s F1 outfit, previously known as Toleman/Benetton/Renault and now called Lotus F1. Maybe they are onto something.

      The Lotus 100T was a failure that destroyed Piquet’s chances to defend his title against the Mclarens. It was the beginnig of Team Lotus debacle. Its presence in a post talking about a Proton and Honda deal amuses me.

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