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Malaysian Automaker to Manufacture Electric Cars for Netherlands-Based Company

March 31, 2009

KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA --- Proton Holdings Bhd. has agreed to manufacture electric cars for Netherlands-based Detroit Electric Holdings Ltd. that will generate as much as two billion ringgit ($553.2 million) in revenue over four years, according to a Wall Street Journal report. 

Detroit Electric is expected to implement styling changes to distinguish its electric cars from Proton's existing lineup. Detroit Electric Chairman and Chief Executive Albert Lam said the cars will be sold for between $23,000 and $33,000 each, depending on battery size. 

Syed Zainal Abidin Syed Mohamed Tahir, Proton's managing director, said the estimated income from the deal is conservative and based on the 40,000 cars it is expected to produce for Detroit Electric, the Wall Street Journal reported. 

In effect, the agreement lets Detroit Electric use the platforms of two Proton vehicle models, the Persona and Gen2, for the electric cars. The cars will be powered by lithium-ion batteries developed by the Dutch company and marketed under the Detroit Electric brand. 

Proton said the license and contract assembly agreements are valid for five years. 

Syed Zainal noted that Proton is studying the technology and the market for electric cars, since the company has the right to sell Proton-branded electric vehicles powered by Detroit Electric's engines in Southeast Asia as well as in member countries of the Organization of Islamic Conference.

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