General Motors is considering acquiring Malaysian automaker Proton, according to reports by the Business Times and Reuters. Auto enthusiasts in North America may be most familiar with Proton as the company that acquired Lotus in 1996.

"Let me put it this way; GM has shown interest in Proton, and if they put in a bid we will consider it," finance minister Nor Mohamed Yakcop told reporters. "There are three of them now who are foreign companies that are interested and they come in different forms and proposals. Now we are finalising the discussions and the comparisons, they are not identical interests," he said.

Analysts say the problems at loss-making Proton could be solved by a foreign partnership. There is speculation GM could use Proton's state-of-the-art production facilities to build low-cost cars. Proton is valued at as much as $1.6 billion.