The sale of Proton by the Malaysian government "changes nothing" for Lotus, which is owned by the struggling carmaker.

An official statement issued by Lotus this morning said: "As far as we are aware, this situation changes nothing for Lotus, Proton's support in our development remains very strong and our focus, as always, is on the delivery of the business plan."

Malaysia’s state-owned investment firm yesterday sold its stake in Proton in a deal worth $410m.

Khazanah Nasional sold its 42.7 per cent stake in Proton Holdings to car distributor and importer DRB-Hicom and expects to complete the deal by the second quarter of the year.

DRB-Hicom builds and distributes Mercedes and Volkswagen models, and has eight assembly plants, four of which are for cars. The deal gives DRB control of two plants in Malaysia with a combined capacity of 350,000 units per year.

Stuart Milne