November 12, 2007 / 5:48 AM / 10 years ago

Malaysia, Iran, Turkey plan "Islamic" car - report

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 11 (Reuters) - Malaysia plans to team up with Iran and Turkey to jointly develop what they called the world's first "Islamic" car, complete with features for Muslims, for the world market, Malaysia's Bernama news agency said. The car will incorporate features such as a compass to determine the direction of Mecca for prayers as well as compartments for storing the Koran and headscarves, it quoted the head of Malaysian carmaker Proton Holdings PROT.KL as saying.

"We will identify a car that we can develop and produce it in Malaysia, Iran or Turkey," Proton Chief Executive Syed Zainal Abidin Syed Mohamed Tahir, on a visit to Iran, said.

"For Proton, we are more than happy because we have products that we can share," he said, adding that the move could help Proton cut down development costs, increase production volume and improve its economies of scale.

In August the state-controlled company reported its fifth straight quarterly loss, as sales continued to slide and its search for a global industry partner dragged on without success.

The Malaysian government has indicated it is willing to sell a stake in Proton to a global car maker and has been in separate talks with Volkswagen (VOWG.DE) and General Motors (GM.N), but so far no agreement has been reached.

(Reporting by Jalil Hamid; Editing by Greg Mahlich)

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