"We have to sit down and look at all the plans and operations of Lotus before we decide whether we are selling or stick with Lotus," said Mohamad Khamil Jamil, managing director of DRB-HICOM.
"I need to sit down with the management of Lotus and Proton to see whether they (the plans) are workable as soon as possible. We need to see if the plan is viable or not," he told reporters.
Speaking at a press conference two days after his company announced it would buy the struggling Malaysian national car brand, Mohamad Khamil also said his firm planned to de-list Proton shares and take the company private. China's Shanghai Auto, which owns MG Rover, was reportedly keen to acquire Lotus but Proton's new boss said he had received no offers.
DRB-HICOM is a leading car distributor and importer that assembles various brands including Mercedes-Benz, Honda, Suzuki and Volkswagen cars. Malaysia's state investment arm Khazanah Nasional said on Monday it had sold its 42.7 percent stake in Proton to DRB-HICOM for 1.291 billion ringgit ($410 million). The buyer must also offer to purchase the remaining Proton shares from other stakeholders, which could push the deal to as much as 3.02 billion ringgit, analysts said.
On DRB-HICOM's plans for taking Proton private, Mohamad Khamil said no stakes in the struggling carmaker would be sold to foreign entities. However, it was open to possible technical cooperation with global players like General Motors, Volkswagen and Honda, he said, adding that he aimed to turn Proton around within five years.