The partnership involves the assembly of Volkswagen vehicles in Malaysia, with production due to start in about a year’s time, and will boost the manufacturer’s presence in the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN).
Volkswagen board of management chairman Dr Bernd Pischetsrieder said: ‘The Volkswagen Group intends to gain a significant market share in the countries of the ASEAN region over the coming years.
‘The two companies will bring their respective strengths and benefits to this partnership in an optimum way.’
Speaking at the signing ceremony, Proton Holdings Berhad group chief executive officer Tengku Tan Sri Dr Mahaleel, added: ‘The partnership will create value not only for Proton and the local vendors but also for Malaysia as the cars assembled will also be exported.’
There are currently no plans for Volkswagen to take a shareholding in Proton as the partnership states that both companies will retain their full independence.
For Volkswagen, the signing means it can establish a base for servicing the markets of the ASEAN region without having to make extensive capital investments in the region.
The companies will also investigate the possibilities of creating a joint vehicle together and as a first step they have agreed to begin preparations for the assembly of kits of two models. The collaboration will initially involve only the Volkswagen brand, with a review option to extend it to other brands in the Volkswagen Group at a later date.
The companies aim to launch the first Malaysian-assembled models into the local market by the end of 2005 and have set an initial sales target for 2006 of 15,000 units.