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Hawtai-Proton partnership still proceeding to schedule

By Carmen Lee  From Gasgoo.comFebruary 02, 2012 (Shanghai February 2) - The proposed cooperation between Hawtai Automobile and Malaysian manufacturer Proton is still proceeding to schedule, however, it is still undecided when the actual agreement will be signed, the Beijing Times reported today. The two companies reportedly still require time to sort out technological details regarding their partnership.

Hou Haijing, acting vice president and director of Hawtai Automobile, said that Proton's recent acquisition by DRB-Hicom would not affect the proposed partnership. DRB-Hicom acquired the controlling share of Proton from the Malaysian government last month at a price of $410 million. In fact, Mr. Hou said that DRB-Hicom expressed support of the partnership between Hawtai and Proton in its recently unveiled presentation on technological cooperation. The two companies are still on track to unveil a new jointly developed model in 2013.

Hawtai and Proton agreed to establish a jointly owned technology site at last October's China-ASEAN Business and Investment Summit in Guangxi. The new site will be primarily responsible for researching and developing new models and key auto parts. In addition to R&D, it will also focus on engineering and technology support, quality assurance work, supplier management and other basic tasks. The two companies will also begin doing work on developing new vehicles, including new energy cars.

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