M&M eyes Proton's high-end sports car Lotus, small car model: report

Indian utility vehicle and tractor major Mahindra & Mahindra (M&M) and Malaysian car maker Proton are in talks to launch the latter's Lotus range of high-end sports cars in India as also to manufacture a small car, reports said.

The report, quoting sources, said the plan is for licensed or joint venture production of certain Lotus models in India. M&M is also reported to be looking for a small car model that can be re-engineered for the Indian market.

The Proton Savvy, a super mini car with a 1200cc Renault engine claims to give 24km per litre of fuel under test conditions and 16-18 km in normal situations, reports pointed out.

CNBC-TV18 had earlier reported of a meeting between M&M vice chairman and MD Anand Mahindra and representatives of Lotus Cars management. He had also visited Lotus manufacturing plant in Indonesia, according to the report.

Lotus Cars is a UK-based manufacturer of sports and racing cars, which include the Elise, Exige, Europa and Evora brands, earlier owned by Bugatti.

Proton acquired Lotus in 1996 from Bugatti when the latter went bust.

In 1998, however, Volkswagen AG decided to revive the Bugatti brand, purchasing all trademark rights, and founded Bugatti Automobile SAS in Molsheim, Alsace, as a Volkswagen France subsidiary.

While Lotus Cars are not sold in India, the company is said to be providing engineering consultancy to clients through Lotus Engineering.