Hawtai Automobile and Proton are expected to sign an official cooperation agreement before Chinese New Year at the earliest, according to a report from auto.sina.com.cn quoted by autonews.gasgoo.com.
An unnamed Hawtai executive said negociations have reached an advanced state, adding that the two parties have discussed plans to establish a new team of around 30 people in Beijing, with nine other employees from Hawtai to be sent to Malaysia.
Hawtai and Proton agreed to build a technology site with each company holding a 50 percent ownership share. The new site will manage researching and developing new models and key auto parts. It will also focus on engineering and technology support, quality assurance work, supplier management and other basic tasks. The collaboration is also aimed at developing new vehicles.
One of the first steps of the cooperation will be the production of the Proton Exora minivan and the upcoming Persona R sedan in China, at the Ordos City plant in Inner Mongolia region. Hawtai and Proton are currently looking for ways to lower costs to export the vehicles to Europe and other overseas markets. The two companies will use a global platform to develop new vehicle technology, procure auto parts and expand into new foreign markets.