FRANKFURT -- Volkswagen AG will assemble its Passat mid-sized model in Malaysia with partner Proton Holdings Bhd starting at the end of this year, Europe's biggest carmaker said on Friday.
The subcompact Fox model will follow in 2006, a spokesman added, confirming a report in the Braunschweiger Zeitung newspaper.
Volkswagen last year agreed a partnership deal with Proton that aims to boost VW's presence in fast-growing southeast Asian markets. The accord did not involve taking equity stakes.
VW said at the time it envisioned launching the first locally assembled VW models in Malaysia by the end of 2005 and generating sales of more than 15,000 units in 2006.
Citing independent estimates, Volkswagen said the auto market in the ASEAN trade region -- where the company is scarcely present -- should grow by 67 percent, or 1 million units, to sales of 2.4 million vehicles annually by 2015.
Proton controls nearly half of the Malaysian market. The tie-up also gives Volkswagen access to Proton's extensive production capacity and dealer network.