Last year it was reported Geely is in discussions with Proton for a potential partnership, which could lead to an acquisition of the Lotus brand. However, earlier this month, Bloomberg said that the Chinese automaker is not happy with the negotiations so far, as the Malaysians “haven’t decided what they want.” Apparently, this uncertainty has resulted in discontinued talks, as South China Morning Post reports Geely has withdrawn its bid.
The information is official, as it was confirmed to the Chinese newspaper by An Conghui, Geely’s president. It was believed the company is the main candidate for a new Lotus owner, mainly because of its interest in the technologies and engineering expertise of the British marque.
Now that Geely is out of the talks, PSA Group remains the only automaker with registered interest in Proton and Lotus. A potential deal sounds increasingly logical, as the French manufacturer recently acquired Opel and Vauxhall, and is searching for opportunities to expand its operations globally and “conquer the rest of the world step by step.”
A deal with Proton could help PSA gain a better access to the South-East Asian market with a possible tax-free business across the ASEAN thanks to the Malaysian company’s ability to produce between 400,000 and 600,000 cars per year.
According to Car Advice, Proton’s current owner, DRB-Hicom, is interested in selling only part of its shares in the company and in finding a new partner by the end of the first half of the year. Given that, we expect some major merger news in the coming weeks with PSA most likely again being on focus.