Lekir concept is a Lotus Europa with restyled bumpers, black trim and Proton badges
9 December 2010

Proton has wheeled out a string of concepts - including a version of the Lotus Europa - at the Malaysian manufacturer’s local motor show in Kuala Lumpur.

The most sporting of the models is the Lekir, in effect a Lotus Europa with restyled bumpers, black trim ahead of the rear wheelarches and Proton badging. Sources in Malaysia suggest that the Lekir could become the long-term future of the Europa, which has not been a success for Lotus.

See pics of the Europa-based Proton Lekir

Such a model would feature a 1.6-litre turbocharged Proton powerplant, and make use of the Europa’s platform and suspension components, plus much of its bodywork.

More significant for Proton’s mainstream sales is the Tuah, a neatly styled four-door saloon which is said to preview the next-generation Persona. Its bold front end has LED daytime running lights, and its blistered wheelarches give it an unusually sporting stance.

Read the full story on the Mitsubishi Evo-based Jebat

Proton is also using its home show to reveal the Lekiu, a small SUV crossover that could well be destined for the Chinese market, and the Jebat, a crudely bodykitted take on the Mitsubishi Evo X that features swathes of matt-black plastic at its front and rear.

See all the latest Proton reviews, news and video

Join the debate


7 December 2010

[quote Autocar] Sources in Malaysia suggest that the Lekir could become the long-term future of the Europa, which has not been a success for Lotus[/quote] Well hopefully they are right. Although I think the kindest thing that I can say is it looks 'interesting'

7 December 2010

Is this the real future of Lotus???

7 December 2010

The Tuah is a real mish mash of other cars.


An accord at the front and on old saloon Toledo at the rear.

Where has all Japanese design went to?

7 December 2010

[quote disco.stu]Is this the real future of Lotus???[/quote] No, this is the real present day of Lotus. Your comment makes little sense and can only stem from the state of abject denial common among British motoring enthusiasts, wherein Britain has somehow not run its car industry into the dirt and faced compromises and a humiliating lack of global relevance. How it could possibly be at all lamentable that Proton is repurposing a failing Lotus model - a model which is failing, by the way, because Lotus got it wrong at the conceptual stage - while Lotus attempts to overhaul its line-up is a mystery to me. Lotus is where it is because the British motoring industry failed, and Proton is a far, far better owner than some of Lotus' past stewards. Certainly those of us who love the brand wish it could be the hard-hitter it deserves to be, without having to make concessions to its overlords that may dilute its brand, but the mistakes that crippled Lotus were made decades ago, and they weren't made by Proton.

7 December 2010

There was always going to be a time when Proton was going to want to rebadge some Lotus' for its own purposes so this comes as no surprise. It will be interesting to see how many of the new concepts seen in Paris are rebadged as well.

7 December 2010

A Lotus rehashed into a Proton is not new, remember the MK2 Elan was turned into a Proton too, but why did they have to ruin the looks of the car with ugly wheels and black cladding?

I always liked the Europa and was only put off by its high price. I was tempted by a used one after Autocars article recently and have been looking around, but seeing this has put me off!!

7 December 2010

[quote somethingmissing]How it could possibly be at all lamentable that Proton is repurposing a failing Lotus model [/quote]

Can you imagine Ferrari rebadging the 612 as a Fiat? Or Porsche rebadging the 911 as a Seat? Or Jaguar rebadging the UK as a Tata?

This is the level that Lotus wants to compete at in 2 years' time, while basically being forced to admit that their current cars are not worthy enough to escape a Proton badge.

I'm not living in abject denial. Lotus has trumpeted itself and its plans, yet all it has to show for itself is a 2+2 Proton and the remainder of a range which it no longer wants to be associated with, and a complete mish-mash and confusion of racing activities under the Lotus name, none of which have anything to do with Lotus the company which actually builds sports cars. How can you possibly take these guys seriously???

7 December 2010

[quote MattDB]A Lotus rehashed into a Proton is not new, remember the MK2 Elan was turned into a Proton too[/quote]

No, the front-drive Elan was rebadged as a Kia

7 December 2010

[quote disco.stu]Or Jaguar rebadging the UK as a Tata? [/quote] Rebadging the UK as a Tata? Is that's what's popularly referred to as a Freudian clit? :-) Jokes aside, your analogy is faulty. Nothing Ferrari makes could ever be rebadged as a Fiat, but a Europa can feasibly be brought downmarket and sold as an everyperson's sports car (like a Fiat coupe, or a Scirocco, etc) because let's face it, it's a pretty basic - but hugely capable - car that's been tarted up to try to take on luxury marques. It is emphatically not the kind of Porsche-beating material that Lotus wants to create, and that's why it wouldn't be weird seeing it scaled back, with a Proton badge. You can't have this argument both ways - either the Europa is fantastic and ought to be retained with a Lotus badge - and I doubt you'd agree with that - or it's a mis-step, in which case surely you'd agree that Lotus ought to go into damage control with it, perhaps by... oh, I don't know, allowing the parent company to make money off of it while Lotus works on something better? At this point Proton's Europa is only a concept, and if you ever paid any attention to developments in the car world you'd know that Proton has been making noises about including a Lotus derived model in its range for years, but never acted on it. And if Lotus achieves its aims of a speedy range overhaul then by the time the Europa sees a Proton badge, if ever, it probably will already look a bit wrong for the Lotus badge anyway. Cash and wherewithal are the keys to this kind of thing, and they claim to have the cash and to have hired the wherewithal, so I'd say the only reasonable response is to wait and see. It certainly isn't reasonable to simply slate everything they do before they've even done it. [quote disco.stu]being forced to admit that their current cars are not worthy enough to escape a Proton badge.[/quote] This is the crux of the matter, though, isn't it? The problem is that you can't take Proton seriously. It's the Proton bit that annoys you, not the Lotus bit. Maybe deep down inside you believe Lotus deserves better. You think a Proton badge is something that a car ought to try and escape. First the Japanese, then the Koreans, now the Malaysians and the Chinese and the Indians... for some reason, people like you seem to forget what happened the last time you heaped dismissive scorn on a determined, emerging car maker without paying attention to whether their cars were actually improving or not. Who'll be dishing up your crow next, I wonder.

7 December 2010

Funny Ferrari and Porsche never had to do this to become successful. I think it really weakens the brand...but I guess it shows how many Europa's they didnt sell in Europe!! I have only seen one in Ripley and it is not a looker which is a shame as the longer wheelbase would have made a great looking car.....oh dear another waste of the worlds precious resources :)


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