There had been some reports floating around that DRB-Hicom was seeking a strategic partnership from a Japanese automaker lately, and we just received word that a deal is now in place. Proton will be teaming up with Honda to develop technology enhancements and a new product lineup, as well as share platforms and facilities.
For the most part, Proton builds cheap econoboxes for the UK market, so the direct team up is really not too inspiring. However, peeling back the skin a little bit, you reveal that this deal will likely include its subsidiary, Lotus. While Lotus would benefit greatly from having the technology that Honda has to offer and some financial relief by building certain components together, we are mostly interested in what this deal could potentially bring Honda.
Honda really doesn’t need Proton, as its econobox lineup is stout, but it is lacking a sports car, ever since the S2000 fizzled out in a fit of torque-lacking rage. With Lotus’ expertise being in the lightweight sports car realm and both Honda and Lotus looking for ways to build sports cars without taking on 100 percent of the risk, a team up between the two would be equally beneficial.
We all heard rumors about the S3000 a few years ago, and Lotus has the perfect line of 3.5-liter, V-6 engines sitting in its Evora lineup. So why not team up on a shared model?
According to reports, DRB-Hicom will be laying out Proton’s business plan next month, which will likely include Lotus updates, so we will keep an eye out for this new business plan, and how Honda and Lotus are involved.