Shots of this clay model concept known as the Proton PM5 Concept has been surfacing in forums lately. Some say it is a future model that Proton has been developing together with Lotus, and others are of the opinion that itis an old design concept for the recently launched Lotus Europa. Anyone know more about this concept? There are some hints of Aston Martin designcues especially on the rear end.National carmaker, Proton Holdings Bhd, plans to manufacture affordable Lotus cars in Malaysia probably in late 2007 or in 2008, its managing director Syed Zainal Abidin Syed Mohamed Tahir said."If everything goes on well, the afford able Lotus will be done and assembled in Malaysia . Both Lotus and Proton have agreed on the plan," he told reporters at a press conference to mark his 100 days as managing director.He said Proton was currently identifying the specification for the car,platform to work with and the market to focus."This car could be priced around RM100,000 compared with the current Lotus car at between RM300,000 and RM400,000. It is a very expensive car (currentLotus). I think there is a big market for Lotus if it is within afford ablerange without compromising Lotus' quality," he said.He said with the model, the company could expand Lotus sales not only in UK, Europe, US and Japan but also in China , India and Association ofSouth-East Asian Nations market.Syed Zainal said Proton was tapping synergies with the UK-based sports carmaker, by forming partnerships with carmakers and raising quality of thecars."Lotus is world famous for sports cars and its engineering services, so itmakes a lot of sense for us, as the owners of Lotus, to put in more Lotusin Proton cars. At the same time we will open doors for Lotus to provide engineering services to other carmakers in key Asian market such as China ,South Korea and India ," said Syed Zainal.He said currently Lotus was too heavily-centred in UK . About 80-90 percentof Lotus engineering expertise are there."That is nothing wrong with it. But with we have to be competitive. People are now working towards geo-based rather then Euro-based."Hence, going forward, Lotus has to move from a UK-based firm to geo-basedin order to have its resources in the emerging market like China and India."We are taking a fresh look at making the best use of Lotus' strengths," he said.