SHAH ALAM, April 25, 2006 (Bernama) — National carmaker, Proton Holdings Bhd, plans to manufacture affordable Lotus cars in Malaysia probably in late 2007 or in 2008, its managing director Syed Zainal Abidin Syed Mohamed Tahir said.
“If everything goes on well, the affordable Lotus will be done and assembled in Malaysia. Both Lotus and Proton have agreed on the plan,” he told reporters at a press conference to mark his 100 days as managing director.
He said Proton was currently identifying the specification for the car, platform to work with and the market to focus.
“This car could be priced around RM100,000 compared with the current Lotus car at between RM300,000 and RM400,000. It is a very expensive car (current Lotus). I think there is a big market for Lotus if it is within affordable range without compromising Lotus’ quality,” he said.
He said with the model, the company could expand Lotus sales not only in UK, Europe, US and Japan but also in China, India and Association of South-East Asian Nations market.
Syed Zainal said Proton was tapping synergies with the UK-based sports car maker, by forming partnerships with carmakers and raising quality of the cars.
“Lotus is world famous for sports cars and its engineering services, so it makes a lot of sense for us, as the owners of Lotus, to put in more Lotus in Proton cars. At the same time we will open doors for Lotus to provide engineering services to other carmakers in key Asian market such as China, South Korea and India,” said Syed Zainal.
Proton has been getting in the news recently for all the wrong reasons! Nevertheless, auto enthusiast like me have taken a step back to give the new Pilot on board, nick-ed Super Syed, or Tuan Syed Zainal a chance to redeem proton from embarassment! He started his job by first acknowledging that Proton has issues, major ones!
It’s interesting to note this acknowledgement, which is a contrast from what the arrogant ex-CEO used to lamment about! Tengku Mahaleel knew only how to boast about sub standard quality and never seem to acknowledge the shortcomings of Proton. However, in contrast, the first thing Super Syed acknowledged is Proton’s poor quality & image.
Today, after 100 days at the cockpit, Proton announces plans to develop a Lotus, priced at RM 100K in the next 2 yrs. They have also announced to roll out a replacement model for the aging Iswara end of this year, giving both the Iswara & wira a peacefull death!
At this moment, no one knows which Lotus model would be developed here but the options are few. I reckon the Europa is out of the question, Elise or the latest Lotus APX seems like a good option! Lotus APX is in the MPV/SUV class, a project that costed proton 850Million. Ofcourse, the end product is faboulous. You can see many Gen 2 and Savvy DNA on the Lotus APX. BUT …the concept car comes with a 3.0 supercharged engine and an alluminium wheel arch & chassis, which spells EXPENSIVE! So perhaps(i’m hoping), the idiots finally decided to change the APX concept into a sellable product in Malaysia, by reducing the engine capcity and changing the build material to steel!!
APX rear side