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Volkswagen rumored to be buying out Malaysia's Proton

VW may be looking to buy some or all of Malaysian carmaker Proton to gain foothold in southeast Asia.

After unsuccessfully attempting to buy Malaysian carmaker Proton back in 2010, VW is rumored to be back at it again. The buy would help VW, Europe's largest automaker, get a foothold in the growing southeast Asia market as it vies to become the world's largest automaker.

Two unnamed sources believe that VW may either be looking to buy a minority holding of Proton or a controlling stake, Automotive News learned. In the long term, VW may even attempt a full buyout of Proton, a German magazine also reported on Thursday.

VW aims to become the largest automaker in the world by 2018, with a goal of over 10 million annual sales. In 2011, it sold 8.3 million cars, including its Audi and Skoda brands.

The last talks fell apart after former Malaysian prime minister advised that the company, which was then state-owned, should remain in Malaysian hands. The state has since sold its 42.7-percent stake to DRB-HICOM for $411.9 million.

DRB-HICOM and VW currently have a partnership in place that sees the former assemble the latter's Passat sedan at a plant in Pekan.