Malaysian car maker Proton has inked an agreement to help Indonesia study the feasibility of developing and manufacturing its own national car.

The signing of the pact with PT Adiperkasa Citra Lestari was witnessed by visiting Indonesian President Joko Widodo and Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak.

Proton said in a statement Friday that the companies will sign a joint venture agreement if the feasibility study shows the project should go ahead. Officials said the study is expected to take six months.

Because of Indonesia's huge market, the project could provide a lifeline to Proton, which is struggling to boost sales after its fortunes dwindled due to greater foreign competition.

Proton's exports have remained lackluster, with sales hindered by perceptions of poor quality and bland models.