KUALA LUMPUR – PROTON Holdings Berhad (“PROTON”) the ultimate holding company of Lotus Group, announced that it has signed a Joint Venture (“JV”) Agreement with Lotus Group International Limited, United Kingdom (“Lotus Group”) and Goldstar Heavy Industrial Co. Ltd. (“Goldstar”) for a possible business expansion of Lotus cars in the People’s Republic of China.
The collaboration seeks to accelerate the development of Lotus cars in the premium sports segment in China, leveraging on the incentives offered by the Fujian Provincial Government. Both PROTON and Lotus Group are subsidiaries of DRB-HICOM Berhad.
Signing on behalf of PROTON was the Honourable Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, Chairman of PROTON and former Prime Minister of Malaysia and witnessed by Dato’ Abdul Harith Abdullah, Chief Executive Officer of PROTON. Signing on behalf of Lotus Group International Limited, United Kingdom was Jean-Marc Gales, Chief Executive Officer and witnessed by Mr Rohime Shafie, Director of Lotus Group and Chief Financial Officer of PROTON; and signing on behalf of Goldstar was Mr Zheng Qianghui, Chairman of Goldstar and witnessed by Mr Zhai Wenliang, President of Goldstar.
Dato’ Abdul Harith Abdullah 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.
“The automotive market in China is the single largest in the world today, and is still growing, therefore it is only natural for an established iconic company like Lotus to embark upon the possibility of expansion, venture into the market and seek the available opportunities, in light of the keen interest shown by the many enquiries received thus far. It is very difficult to ignore the market and Lotus will fill the gap in providing a lifestyle alternative to the growing demands of the affluent and market conscious local community,” Dato’ Harith added.
“On April 7, 2015, Lotus announced 55% increase in car sales for its 2014/15 financial year, compared to the previous year with 36 new dealers appointed during the period 2014/15. And China has appeared to be the top key growth market for Lotus exports and is expected to grow at a very fast rate. Lotus Group is excited about the opportunities of this new Joint Venture,” Jean-Marc Gales commented further.
Lotus will continue to manufacture its current range of Lotus sports cars (Evora, Exige and Elise) exclusively at its HQ in Hethel, England.
Group Lotus plc, wholly-owned subsidiary of DRB-HICOM, is based in Norfolk, UK, and has three operating divisions: Lotus Cars, Lotus Engineering and Lotus Motorsport.
Lotus Cars builds world class, high performance sports cars including the award-winning Evora, the iconic Elise and the stunning Exige.
Lotus Engineering provides comprehensive and versatile consultancy services to many of the world’s OEMs and Tier 1 suppliers and is an internationally recognised automotive engineering consultancy.
Lotus Motorsport builds and develops vehicles for GT racing with the Evora GX, GTC, GT4, and GTS, in addition to racing vehicles such as the Exige V6 Cup, Exige Cup R and Elise Cup cars.
PROTON, established in 1983, is a wholly-owned subsidiary of DRB-HICOM Berhad and Malaysia’s largest manufacturer of automobiles, and the only full-fledged OEM car manufacturer in South-East Asia. With operations from the UK to the Middle East, and across South-East Asia and Australasia, PROTON produces cars to suit a range of consumer demands and preferences.
Its offerings include versatile and reliable four-door family vehicles such as the Saga and Persona, the Satria Neo three-door hatchback for the young-at-heart and stylish executive sedans such as the Prevé and Inspira. There are also the spacious and affordable multi-purpose vehicles like the Exora, sleek sporty Suprima S that is packed with performance and the bold and stylish Iriz that is packed with safety and convenient features as well as world-renowned sports cars from LOTUS. Most importantly, PROTON models are developed with LOTUS Engineering, offering customers superior ride and handling experience in every drive.
PROTON’s inception as a key driver of national development has seen the brand accelerate its learning curve through technology transfer with strategic partnerships and technical collaborations. By listening to the needs of customers, PROTON cars are now steadily on track to achieve the mission for the future, with PROTON set to become a marque which builds quality and safe cars with passion and soul; cars that are a delight to drive – and a pleasure to own.