Proton Expands Product Portfolio with Rebadged Lotus Europa, Mitsubishi Evo

Malaysian car company Proton, which normally only makes boring econo cars, is set to make some vehicles that will excite enthusiasts. However, these cars aren’t exactly Proton originals.

First up is the Lekir, which is essentially a Lotus Europa dressed up in re-altered clothes. Lotus (which is owned by Proton) had recently discontinued production of the unloved Europa in favor of the new Evora, so it can easily start building its old model for its parent company. This will allow Lotus to sell more vehicles and will in return bring in some much needed enthusiasts to Proton dealers. Also, since Proton has a much larger international distribution network, the Europa could finally see the success it never had.

When the Lekir hits the showroom, it will feature either a 1.6-liter pr 2.0-liter turbo charged four-cylinder engine, the latter producing about 220-hp.

Want a Proton that is more practical yet still fun to drive? How about their new Inspira Jebat.  This model is clearly based on the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution, also in slightly altered clothing. Proton buys a lot of its technology from Mitsubishi and has reproduced its models for its local market for years. However, Mitsubishi has never let anyone else ever copy or reproduce their Evolution models, so this move clearly shows the growing relations between the two companies.

The Jebat concept, which is currently being displayed at the Kuala Lumpur International Motor Show, is powered by a 2.0-liter turbo charged four-cylinder motor, producing 237-hp.  That is enough to propel it from 0-62 mph in just 5.6 seconds and onto a top speed of about 144 mph, according to Proton.

Both the Lekir and Inspira Jebat are currently being shown as concepts, but if their local market bugs them enough, these aging Lotus and Mitsubishi models might just get a new lease on life.