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VW eyes Malaysia to beef up SE Asia presence: report

February 3, 2012
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VW eyes Malaysia to beef up SE Asia presence: report

FRANKFURT — Volkswagen is in talks with its Malaysian partner DRB-Hicom to expand cooperation and beef up the German car maker’s presence in Southeast Asia, DowJones Newswires reported on Thursday.

Quoting sources familiar with the situation, the news agency said VW, the world’s second-biggest car maker, has sent several top-level executives to Malaysia to enter direct talks about expanding the existing cooperation with DRB-Hicom.

DRB-Hicom has recently acquired a controlling stake in Malaysia’s national automaker Proton.

One possibility would be for VW to take over production capacity at Proton’s modern, but heavily underutilised plant in Tanjung Malim and make Malaysia a production hub for the entire region, the report said.

In return, Volkswagen could support DRB-Hicom’s plan to make Proton more competitive by leveraging its global engineering network and long-standing experience operating in emerging markets such as China and Brazil.

Contacted by AFP, VW did not deny the report, but said it was “constantly looking for growth opportunities worldwide” and that Asia was of particular interest.

Sitting on a cash pile of 21 billion euros ($28 billion), VW has embarked on an expansion programme, buying luxury sportscar maker Porsche, truck giant MAN and a minority stake in Suzuki.

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