Malaysian carmaker Proton Holdings, partly owned by private Chinese automaker Zhejiang Geely Holding Group, plans to start assembling Geely vehicles in Malaysia with kits imported from China sometime in the second half of the year.
The first Geely vehicle to be built at Proton's plant in Tanjung Malim in central Malaysia will be the right-hand-drive version of the Geely Boyue compact crossover. The crossover will be marketed as the Proton X70.
Trial production of the vehicle, the first crossover to be added to Proton's product lineup, has already begun at the factory.
Geely has marshalled resources to help Proton expand its product lineup and production after acquiring 49.9 percent of the Malaysian car band from local conglomerate DRB-Hicom in 2017.
In December 2018, it started shipping the right-hand-drive Boyue to Malaysia where the vehicle is distributed as the Proton X70. With accumulative sales reaching 13,572 in the first five months, the X70 has become the top-selling crossover in the Malaysian market, according to Proton.
In April, Proton secured a loan of 1.88 billion Malaysian ringgit ($445 million) from China Construction Bank, a state-owned Chinese bank, to support its expansion in Southeast Asia.
Proton in April also signed a technology licensing agreement in the Chinese capital of Beijing with Alhaj Automotive, Proton's distributor in Pakistan, enabling the latter to assemble Proton-badged vehicles with complete knockdown kits shipped from Malaysia.
And last week, Geely inked a deal with DRB-Hicom on establishing a joint venture to develop digital technology and connectivity systems for Proton's products.