Lotus’s new path to recovery as a car manufacturer is to build an own-brand range of non-sports models including a saloon and an SUV, according to a Malaysian website which in the past has proved accurate at reporting secret proceedings in the boardrooms of Proton, the sports car maker’s parent.

According to our source, the saloon and SUV scheme is the brainchild of new Lotus CEO and European industry heavyweight, Jean-Marc Gales, appointed at the beginning of May to “drive Lotus’s transformation plan".

Gales’ specific mission is clearly to restore the viability of car manufacturing at Hethel — after a plan two years earlier to expand sports car manufacture by making six different models, espoused by his ex-Ferrari predecessor, Dany Bahar, failed spectacularly. Since then, Proton (with Lotus) has itself been sold to a new owner, Malaysian-based DRB-Hicom.