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Suzuki signs agreement with Malaysia's Proton to rebadge compact

[KUALA LUMPUR] Suzuki Motor Corp signed an agreement allowing Proton Holdings Bhd to assemble a compact passenger car using the Japanese automaker's parts and sell it under the Proton brand in Malaysia.

The first model will be built at the Proton plant in Tanjung Malim from August 2016 and the two companies will study additional models, according to an e-mailed statement from Suzuki.

Besides Suzuki, Mitsubishi Motor Corp also produces cars with Proton, while Subaru-maker Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd manufactures the XV crossover with Malaysia's Tan Chong Group.

Former Malaysian prime minister and Proton Chairman Mahathir Mohamad said details of the pact haven't been worked out and that a definite agreement will be signed by next year. The collaboration is an opportunity for Proton to leverage on Suzuki's expertise in manufacturing compact cars, he said at the signing ceremony in Shah Alam, outside Kuala Lumpur.