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Report: VW to Sign Deal with Proton

Malaysia's national carmaker Proton is expected to sign a deal this week to assemble cars for Volkswagen AG in a tie-up that would boost the German giant's presence in Southeast Asia's fast-growing auto market, a report said Monday. The New Straits Times quoted sources as saying that Proton chief executive Tengku Mahaleel Ariff has flown to Germany after an emergency board meeting over the weekend to ink the pact. Although the deal did not involve Volkswagen taking an equity stake in Proton, it is expected to drive sales for the Malaysian carmaker and increase production at its 1.52-billion-ringgit (400 million dollar) plant in Tanjung Malim in central Perak, sources said. A Proton official said that Mahaleel was now in Germany to finalize negotiations but declined to give details. Volkswagen, Europe's largest carmaker, earlier this month confirmed it was in talks with Proton about the possibility of cooperation for it to penetrate markets in the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). Although Volkswagen is the biggest foreign auto maker in China with nearly 30 percent of the market, it has a negligible presence in ASEAN. (AFP)

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