As covered by Chinese media a few month back, Proton has yesterday signed the MOU with Hawtai Motor from China. The ceremony was held in Nanjing, and aimed to strengthened Proton presence in the China market and Left Hand Drive market in general.
Both parties are evaluating the possibility for joint model development including vendor sourcing and component development with Chinese suppliers. According to Datuk Seri Haji Syed Zainal in Buletin Utama on 22 October, Proton is interested to make China a hub to assemble its LHD cars for other LHD market in addition to China market.
With the competitive cost of manufacturing and labor in China, this is a move that could benefit both parties. Proton can capitalize on cheap manufacturing there and Hawtai can leverage on Proton rich technical capabilities in vehicle development. The move to country with low manufacturing is nothing new lately, with Toyota also switching Avanza production in Malaysia to Indonesia and even Perodua is rumoured to be studying of producing its next Perodua Viva in Indonesia.