Unheralded as the Kuala Lumpur International Motor Show is to people from this part of the world, there are still a number of vehicles over there that are worth keeping tabs on. This year, what looked to be a facelifted Lotus Europa made its way to the KLIMS, but upon closer inspection, we discovered that this car was no Lotus.
Well, actually, it was, except that it has been rebadged by Malaysian automaker Proton and given the designation the Lekir Concept. Given the partnership between the two companies, it figures that with the expected end of the Europa’s production run in Europe, Lotus was looking for a new market for their sports car, a market that will welcome it with open arms, even if it has been rebadged under a local brand.
That’s where Proton and Malaysia enter the picture. Unlike the European spec Europa, which came with a Vauxhall -sourced 2.0-liter turbocharged engine that produced over 200 horsepower, the Lekir Concept is scheduled to be powered by a 1.6-liter Campro engine with performance numbers that should be right on par with a naturally-aspirated 2.0-liter engine.
Since it’s a concept, details are being kept at a minimum for now. We’re pretty confident though that the car will eventually see the production line sometime soon. The Lotus Europa may have had a premature life span in Europe, but who’s to say that it won’t be successful in Malaysia – and other parts of Asia for that matter – disguised under a different brand and different name?