• Bloomberg

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Honda Motor Co. may share car platforms and production facilities with Malaysian national carmaker Proton Holdings.

The pair will also explore opportunities to collaborate in technology and new product lines under an agreement signed Monday, according to a Kuala Lumpur stock exchange filing by Proton’s parent, DRB-Hicom.

“We are surprised that Honda came into the picture, as it was heavily speculated that a Volkswagen tieup was imminent,” Nik Ikhwan Nik Mahmood, an analyst at AMMB Holdings, wrote in a report Tuesday. “The focus of this tieup would be to develop a 2-liter car via platform-sharing. We understand that DRB targets finalization of this tieup within six months.”

Honda already produces cars in Malaysia, including the CR-V sport utility vehicle, and DRB owns a stake in the Japanese manufacturer’s local unit.

For Proton, the deal provides access to technology that could help boost exports, after holding earlier unsuccessful alliance talks with Volkswagen and Peugeot.

“We have received confirmation from management that the Honda agreement is nonexclusive and Proton will be free to work with any other partner in future,” Lucius Chong, an analyst at CIMB Group Holdings, said in a report Tuesday. “The main agenda is to ramp up Proton’s utilization rate, which is currently at 41 percent, and the fastest way to do this is to work with multiple foreign players.”

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