Sports car specialist Lotus is reportedly considering expanding its range to include passenger vehicles, sharing the capabilities and components with parent Proton.
Sharing platforms across multiple segments is rapidly becoming commonplace, with companies like Volkswagen utilising its new MQB platform with the top-shelf Audi range, through to its volume-focused Seat brand.
Speaking with Car & Driver magazine, new Lotus boss Jean-Marc Gales said the brand would be working closely with the Malaysian company for its vehicle development by the end of the decade.
“If we’re looking at four to six years in the future then our partner is Proton,” he said.
“Proton is a volume manufacturer and has parts modules that we could use for future models.”
A more tightly integrated alliance could result in the first front-engined - and possibly even first front-wheel-drive - Lotus model since the early 90s Lotus Elan. Already, Lotus is understood to be considering new sedan and SUV options.
But Gales claims the brand will keep its character and driving focus intact.
“I can tell you that if we were to do a front-engined sports car, it would be a real Lotus. Which means for ride and handling it could be a benchmark. It will have Lotus DNA and be true to it," he said.
Despite financial struggles, Lotus has been working on updates for the Elise, Exige and Evora ultra-light sports cars.
The brand intends to double its sales of these models, indicating the brand’s desire to maintain thoroughbred performance in focus as well.
However, the new partnership could eventually see Lotus move away from the Toyota four and six-cylinder engines powering its current sports cars, if Proton’s own future units prove to be capable of replacing them.