Lotus’ plans of building its first SUV – slated to be unveiled sometime next year – has been made public for some time, and now Proton chairman Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has shed light on a few new details of the off-roader.

The former prime minister revealed that not only has both Proton and Lotus green-lighted the final design of the SUV (which has been in development since 2014), but, contrary to previous reports, it won’t be built solely in China, for the Chinese market only. Instead, it will be produced and sold in other markets as well.

“The problem is to build it, and we don’t have the four-wheel drive or the engine,” he said. “So now we are negotiating with people in China and in Europe on how to build the car.”

Despite this, Mahathir stressed that the SUV will be developed mainly for the Chinese market, and that Lotus has to achieve the basic volume first before considering other markets.


Mahathir also surprised us with a confirmation that a Lotus sedan will follow the SUV onto the market, also aimed at the Chinese market. Both models will be built by Lotus together with its partner in China, Goldstar Heavy Industrial. “The Chinese want sedans and SUV, they don’t want sports cars. In town they don’t want sports cars,” he said.

Another surprise – when asked if these models will be sold in Malaysia and whether they will carry Lotus or Proton badges, Mahathir said that while it has not been decided yet, they will probably be badged as Protons.

Proton-badged Lotus SUV and sedan? Sounds great to us, but what do you guys think? Sound off in the comments section after the jump.

Watch the video above to see the full interview with Proton chairman Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.