Volvo parent company Geely has changed its mind about investing in Proton.
Paris-based PSA Peugeot-Citroen could purchase a controlling stake in Proton, the Malaysian company that owns Lotus.
Proton needs an investment from a foreign strategic partner (FSP). For weeks, Peugeot and Geely, the Chinese brand that owns Volvo, were involved in a bidding war to control Proton. It looked like Geely had won, but website Paultan reports the company retracted its bid at the last minute.
That leaves Peugeot as the last bidder standing. The company submitted an offer earlier this year, but details about what it contains haven't been made public by DRB-Hicom, the conglomerate that currently controls Proton.
For Peugeot, the most important part of the tie-up would be getting access to Proton's factories in Malaysia, according to Paultan. It would be able to gain a foothold in southeast Asia, a region it has historically struggled in. At this point, it's too early to tell what effect a Proton-PSA tie-up would have on Lotus.
Last month, DRB-Hicom announced it would evaluate the bids received for Proton, seek regulatory approval, and announce who it partners up with before the second half of the year. Now that only Peugeot is left, a deal could be made public a little bit sooner than expected.
Note: Lotus Evora 410 pictured.