HETHEL (England), Feb 24 – The Lotus Evora (pic), launched for the United Kingdom market, is to hit the Malaysian market by end of next month, says Proton Managing Director Datuk Syed Zainal Abidin Mohamed Tahir.
He said Proton was awaiting the next batch of the Evora before “we are ready for the launch.”
Saying that the company has not decided on the price, he did not deny that it would be higher than the 50,000 pounds current price in the United Kingdom.
“This is due to Malaysia’s higher tax structure than in the UK We’ve yet to finalise the price, we’re still working on it. We’ll try to make it as competitive as in the UK market.
“We’re still working with the government besides looking at the price structure,” he told a press conference at the Lotus headquarters here Tuesday.
The press conference was held in conjunction with the two-day visit to Lotus from Monday by former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad. Lotus Evora, originally developed under a project called “Project Eagle”, was launched at the British Motor Show in July 2008.
The car is bigger than other Lotus models like Elise and Exige, with 160mph (260km/h) top speed and 0-60mph (0-100km/h) in less than five seconds.
Asked about the global strategic partner which he mentioned in his speech at a dinner on Monday night, Syed Zainal Abidin declined to elaborate, saying it was too early to make an announcement.
“The discussions not only involved Volkswagen but also Mitsubishi and Renault to look into collaborations in a few areas, namely engine and component parts.
“We are looking at a big scope of collaboration, that’s the level of discussions we are having today with the parties. I think in discussions like these, we don’t want to pre-empt our talks.
“We have some confidentiality that we’ve discussed and we have to respect that, but the discussions are quite intense,” he said.
Earlier, Syed Zainal Abidin said Proton has lined up a series of products for the next five years including electronics and engine power.
“We’re developing a Campo turbo which will be available by year-end or at the latest by early next year. That will be a feature in all of our cars,” he said.
After 25 years in operations, Syed Zainal Abidin said, Proton was venturing into the international arena, with the Geneva Motor Show being the first step forward and “we will build on from there.”
Dr Mahathir, also present at the press conference, said a lot of changes have been made since his last visit to Lotus about six years ago.
He said Lotus had achieved a great deal of progress, both in actual performance and in the ideas that have been put forth by the management.
“I’ve seen some of the technology advancement development they have accomplished, and as you know, the car I drove just now, Evora, was from Lotus technology because we are faced with the need to increase engine power.
“So it is either we change the engine or upgrade the engine, so Lotus has actually helped to upgrade the engine, it is now as good as 2,000cc,” he added. – Bernama