Let's say you're an automaker bent on world domination looking to grow your sales. That's going to have you looking at Asian markets, because that's where some of the biggest growth has been, and that's exactly what Volkswagen is doing as it considers making another run at Malaysia's Proton.

Reuters
reports that Volkswagen is interested in at least a partial stake, if not a controlling interest in Lotus-parent Proton as a way to continue a production presence in the region without having to build its own factory.

Volkswagen already builds the Passat in a DRB-HICOM facility in Pekan, Malaysia, and plans are in place to build the Jetta and Polo there, as well. With both southeast Asia and its relationship with Proton figuring so importantly in Volkswagen's plans for expansion, buying into Proton can help ensure stability. Volkswagen is being tight-lipped about the whole idea, but CEO Martin Winterkorn did recently say, "it's our clear goal to continue the successful (expansion) course of past years with great dynamics and stability," which sounds an awful lot like deals are on the table to smooth the path to further growth.


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  • 30 Comments
      KaptnKauto
      • 2 Years Ago
      There's a reason whey they used Darth Vadar in their comercials. VW could very well be building a deathstar. Mark my words....
      gary
      • 2 Years Ago
      My first instinct is to say VW needs another brand like they need a hole in the head. But Proton makes sense as a (presumably) cheap toe-hold in the emerging asia-pacific markets. And Lotus could pair nicely with Lamborghini in the retail space, giving dealers a more "accessible" exotic to sell in higher volume without diluting the Lamborghini brand mystique.
      Hazdaz
      • 2 Years Ago
      Oh geez. Enough already VW. You obviously don't know how to play-nice with the Asian carmakers, and lord knows you already have enough brands of your own.
      Temple
      • 2 Years Ago
      As Daimler's merger with Chrysler has shown, and more recently, VW's 20% acquisition of Suzuki, German companies only care about complete control of their partner even when they don't take a majority stake. If Proton sells to VW they need to completely sell out or not sell at all. This partial sale to VW is completely useless. VW won't share platforms or play nice unless you are a vassal (something Suzuki has learned). Lotus & Proton should expect a complete loss of independence.
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Temple
        [blocked]
      Hyllecool
      • 2 Years Ago
      As long as they don't build their own SUV like lambo and bently, I'm good. (mostly sarcasm, but slightly serious)
      PeterScott
      • 2 Years Ago
      It would be nice to see Lotus with some serious funding behind it.
        GasMan
        • 2 Years Ago
        @PeterScott
        The articale says Proton just spent $240M on them. What is your definition of serious funding?
          carguy1701
          • 2 Years Ago
          @GasMan
          I think he means not having to worry about profitability, which is something Lotus has not been.
          PeterScott
          • 2 Years Ago
          @GasMan
          That isn't exactly a huge amount of cash in the car business, you can barely put together one new model for that. At the same time they announced tearing up the ambition model rollout plan. So I would like to see them as high end sports model and skunkworks for some big manufacturer. But perhaps VW isn't the best fit as they seem to compete with Porsche. Evora - Cayman. Maybe Toyota to give more Zing to that bland brand. Get some Lotus tuning on sporty models. IIRC Lotus has used a number of Toyota Engines and tweaked them out. Good fit?
      carguy1701
      • 2 Years Ago
      Lotus is going to need to shack up with one of the large manufacturers (GM, Toyota, Honda, Ford, VW, maybe Renault-Nissan) if the fanboy cars are going to survive. The car building division of Lotus has not turned a profit in some time, and I doubt DRB-HICOM will let that continue.
      rocketmoose
      • 2 Years Ago
      I'd love to see Tata pick up Lotus. They've shown that they can cultivate a brand with Jaguar and Land Rover - but unlike VW, Tata don't have any competing brands already. (VW has Porsche.)
      mikelee
      • 2 Years Ago
      Ah yes . . . the Uber race(!). World domination, one way or another.
      Avinash Machado
      • 2 Years Ago
      Lotus would be a nice fit with VW's boutique brands like Lamborghini etc.
      Shahul X
      • 2 Years Ago
      Man a reliable lotus without a dumb Toyota engine and maybe a Audi TTRS engine would be amazing
      Myself
      • 2 Years Ago
      Here's an idea... VW should buy all car makers in the world. For starters, it would stop all flame wars in the interwebs...
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