Proton-Lotus Elise production

Date: Fri, 29 Nov 1996 14:11:56 +0000

>From *The Star*, Kuala Lumpur

                                    Sunday, November 24, 1996

      Plan to produce Proton-Lotus variant

      MANILA : Perusaahaan Otomobil Nasional Bhd (Proton) will
      produce a Proton-Lotus variant, an upmarket model within
      Proton models, its chairman Tan Sri Yahaya Ahmad said.

      He said the variant, following Proton's recent
      acquisition of an 80 per cent majority stake in the
      United Kingdom-based Lotus, would have Lotus inputs of
      the same quality, performance and road handling.

      He stressed that the car would not merely be a product
      of badge engineering.

      "We cannot just make a Proton and put a Lotus badge on
      it," he told newsmen after speaking as a panelist at the
      Apec Business Forum, held in conjunction with the Asia
      Pacific Economic Co-Operation (Apec) meeting here.

      He said the variant would generate the image of the
      national cars in both the domestic and foreign markets.

      The model's introduction emulates the mid-60s Ford
      Cortina's success in the United Kingdom where an
      upmarket Cortina-Lotus variant had boosted the image and
      sales of low-end Cortinas, he said.

      "It is not a matter of badge engineering . . .
      Improvement takes time. But of course we are pushing for
      that idea," he added.

      He said the target markets would determine as to which
      of the national car's current domestic distributors
      would be selling and handling the after-sales-service of
      the car.

      On the planned production of Lotus Elise in Malaysia,
      Yahaya said a subsidiary would be set up to handle the
      marketing, which would be Proton's global strategy in
      marketing Lotus. - Bernama