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Proton hoses down GM alliance speculation

New possibilities: Proton could soon enjoy a global alliance.

Car-maker set to make an announcement soon

Proton logo16 Jan 2007

By NEIL MCDONALD

PROTON Holdings Berhad has played down reports that General Motors had made an approach to take a stake in the Malaysian car-maker.

Proton said any matter of stakeholder was between the interested party and Proton, which contradicts previous reports that have said GM officials have met with Proton management since last November.

However, the Malaysian Government's Second Finance Minister, Nor Mohamed Yakcop, confirmed this week that GM was interested in Proton.

The Malaysian Government is expected to make an announcement about the partner as soon as March.

Germany's VW Group and France's PSA-Peugeot are also in talks with the government.

Proton has been seeking an alliance partner or more than 18 months, in part to find compatible small car platform architectures it could use, as well as new-generation engines.

Malaysia's Business Times quoted a source as saying that GM's interest in Proton was twofold.

It would allow the Detroit-based car-maker to participate with Group Lotus as well as utilise Malaysia as a low-cost centre to develop car parts for General Motors' plants worldwide.

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