Half priced Elise?
found this on the Seloc, what do you think?
Proton to sell half-price elise derivative in asia?
A Lotus flowers in Asia
PAUL GOVER in KUALA LUMPUR
25 July 2003
1 - FIRST
(c) 2003 Herald and Weekly Times Limited
A CUT-PRICE quick car cloned from the Lotus Elise will add an edge to the Proton line-up next year.
The Proton Coupe will look like an Elise, drive like an Elise, and have the impact of an Elise, but should be about half the price of the British sports car.
In Kuala Lumpur, Proton chief executive Tenkgu Mahaleel says this signals a sports-car-style push by the Malaysian carmaker.
Proton intends to put a sporty edge on every new car it creates in coming years, with plans to put as many as nine newcomers into showrooms inside five years.
Mahaleel says the Elise-based Proton Coupe will create fresh thinking about his company, as well as creating extra showroom traffic in dealerships around the world.
"The car will be affordable. It will be made in Malaysia from the Elise platform," Mahaleel says.
Proton can make its own Elise because it owns Lotus, the boutique British brand which grew from a successful Formula One team in the 1960s.
The Elise is very costly, with prices from $84,990, and only 20 cars were sold in Australia in the first half of this year.
The Proton Coupe would be at least $30,000 cheaper if Mahaleel's plan works, and several hundred could hit Australian roads. But it will need a punchier engine and less-complicated construction to satisfy the Proton plan.
"We are still working on the details. We have to determine how to build the car and how to keep the costs affordable," one Lotus insider in Malaysia says.
Proton has already been successful in Australia with the Satria GTi, an affordable hot hatch that's also a racetrack winner.
It has built the Elise in Malaysia, using chassis shipped from Britain with a range of local components, with the last of about 200 cars still being sold in dealerships. It considered exporting the Proton-made Elise, but the cost of certifying it for sale -- including crash testing -- ruled that out.
Now Mahaleel is driving the new project and is keen to get the Proton Coupe on the road -- and on export boats -- by the final quarter of 2004.
His team is looking for ways to simplify construction at Proton's Shah Allam plant, particularly the complicated backbone chassis, and developing its own engine package.
"We are trying to get a new engine with 250 horsepower (175kW) . . . still a four-cylinder, but with more performance," Mahaleel says.