After a bit of time to consider, I think the 15-minute phone interview I had a couple of days ago with Lotus chief Jean-Marc Gales – during which he talked of making other Lotus models outside of sports cars as a route to sustainable profits – was more encouraging than any I've ever had with a Lotus boss.

And I've done the lot - a dozen of them over the past 30-odd years, going right back to Colin Chapman.

What made chatting with Gales special? The fact that the ex-PSA chief's plans for the Hethel-based sports car company seem entirely rational, something only sparingly associated with Lotus revival plans of the past.

In this game you get slowly better at recognising rationality as the fortunes of the UK's unique patchwork of car companies ebbs and flows: as rolling disasters like the Phoenix Four's doomed Rover Group have imploded, and as tiny hotbeds of genius like the 100-a-year Ariel Motor Co. have prospered. You grow a better – though never infallible – nose for knowing what will work and what won't.

At Lotus, Gales wants to stabilise the business for the short term by cutting costs (which, sadly, means jobs) and by improving existing products that already have a powerful appeal. He reckons he can sell 3000 cars a year quite soon, and why not? He's on course to do 2000 in 2014 without much of a run-up.

Then he wants to employ the Porsche strategy: to make cars of other formats – just as Porsche does Cayennes and Panameras - to generate the money it takes to keep building the iconic sports cars that truly drive the company's image and reputation. That's harder.

Right now it is a bit difficult to imagine Lotus launching any model that isn't a sports car. There's no tradition for it. Neither was there a tradition for the Porsche Cayenne.

But there's expertise enough at Hethel and manufacturing power enough at Proton to develop platforms capable of being shared by the two marques in such a way that each version had a unique and distinctive appeal. After all, when considering a Range Rover Evoque, no-one thinks of a Ford Focus, though the pair are closely related.

Of course, there are some very high hurdles ahead. Not the least of them might be a narrow-minded band of professional critics unwilling to see a Proton-Lotus enterprise succeed.

More difficult still, the partners themselves will have to develop skills at design and insights into what drives customer appeal – plus great discretion at keeping the marques miles apart – which, frankly, they haven't displayed up to now.

This is why Jean-Marc Gales's ability at galvanising the much-abused talents of Lotus's car creators will be so critical to any success.

He's a grown-up who has worked in the real world. PSA was – and remains – no picnic. Gales knows what it will take to re-found Lotus and still he says it can work. For that reason I believe him.

For that reason also I reckon the plan (what little of it we know) is the right one. If we want to see Lotus sports cars survive into the 2020s and 2030s, we'd better hope for the success of Lotuses with a look and purpose we never bothered to imagine.