Proton has long highlighted the influence on cars like the Neo Satria Sport of its sporting stablemate Lotus since the two companies were taken under the same ownership in 1996, but the evidence has been scant.

With its latest car, however, the involvement is a little more obvious - the Proton Lekir, unveiled at a motor show in Malaysian capital Kuala Lumpur, is a rebadged Lotus Europa, which the British sports car maker no longer sells.

And whilst the motto of Lotus founder Colin Chapman was 'just add lightness', Proton's motto with this car seems to have been 'just add awfulness'. The Lekir features restyled bumpers and odd bits of black trim added around the car and will be powered by a 1.6-litre Proton engine producing 220bhp.



The Lotus Europa was launched in 2006 and was intended to be a more comfortable GT-style car than more hardcore offerings like the Elise.

It never managed to win over enthusiasts, selling poorly and disappearing ignominiously in May this year when Lotus axed production with immediate effect.

Lotus might not want reminding of one of its rare failures as it embarks on an ambitious five-year strategy to re-launch its entire range, but the Mayalsian money men might think differently.

The Lekir is not expected to go on sale outside of Asia and is one of a number of lightly made-over concepts revealed by Proton at the show, including a rebadged Mitsubishi Lancer.