Proton Holdings Bhd expects to seal a joint venture agreement with Mitsubishi Motors Corp by year-end to produce Mitsubishi sedan models at its Tanjong Malim plant.
Its group managing director, Datuk Seri Syed Zainal Abidin Syed Mohamed Tahir, said under the agreement, Mitsubishi would manufacture 60,000 units a year and via this agreement it would increase the plant's production capacity to 90 per cent.
"The plant currently operates at between 56 and 58 per cent capacity," he told a media briefing after the announcement of the company's second quarter 2011′s results here Tuesday.
Syed Zainal said under the memorandum of understanding it signed with China's car firm, Hawtai Motor Group Ltd, Proton would expand its presence in the Chinese market, where it would sell four Proton models under Hawtai badge.
He said the companies were expected to conclude the agreement by year-end or early next year.
Meanwhile, Proton recorded a lower pre-tax profit of RM47.524 million for the six months ended Sept 30, 2011 versus RM185.914 million chalked up in the corresponding quarter last year.
On the second-half outlook, Syed Zainal said although the Malaysian Automotive Association has forecast a downtrend, Proton would overcome it with the introduction of its Saga face-lift, Saga FLX Special Edition, in December.
"2012 will be an exciting year for us with the introduction of four models — Exora Bold and Exora Prime, Inspira R3 and a sedan codenamed 'P3-21A' — which are expected to be launched early next year," he said.
He said the 'P3-21A' would be the first of Proton's new generation of global cars that are being built according to the latest global rules and regulations which governed various parameters such as emission and safety standards.
"In line with aspirations of becoming a global car manufacturer, the group's fleet of Saga electric vehicles and Exora range extender electric vehicles that are currently being used by the government are also expected to be made commercially available by 2013," he said.