Volkswagen AG is thinking about making a new bid for Proton as VW seeks to enter emerging southeast Asian markets in its pursuit of worldwide dominance, according to sources. In 2007, VW didn’t succeed to create a tie-up with Proton, a Malaysian-based automaker. Europe's largest carmaker may attempt to get either a minority holding in the owner of UK sports-car manufacturer Lotus or a controlling stake, the sources added.
VW builds the Passat sedan in partnership with Malaysian automotive and property conglomerate DRB-HICOM at its plant in Pekan. VW, which doesn’t have a plant in Malaysia, is also planning to build the Jetta and Polo models at DRB-HICOM's factory.
Christoph Stuermer, a Frankfurt-based analyst at research firm IHS Automotive, said that Toyota is claiming the market “as its own backyard." He said that the company wants to be in southeast Asia, a region that has a significant role in VW's global expansion plan. According to German publication Manager Magazin, VW was thinking about making another bid for Proton, saying that its plans may include a full-scale acquisition in the long term.
VW has exceeded Toyota in 2011 to become the No. 2 manufacturer in the world behind General Motors at No. 1. VW has set a target of increasing global deliveries to over 10 million vehicles by 2018.
VW is on course to do better than last year's record 8.3 million with a six-month sales period of 4.45 million vehicles, a 9% increase. These sales figures include the group's Audi and Skoda brands. The deliveries in the Asia-Pacific region increased by 18% to 1.48 million cars, of which China sales were at 1.3 million. China is the largest market for VW. [source: Reuters]