Group Lotus is in discussions with other car manufacturers about the possibility of producing Lotus-branded versions of their cars, according to a UK press report.

The Financial Times said the Proton-owned company's plan was part of a five-year strategy to revive the struggling car maker.

In the past such initiatives have resulted in classic cars such as the Lotus Cortina (Ford), Lotus Sunbeam (Chrysler UK) and Lotus Carlton (Vauxhall).

Mike Kimberley, a company veteran who ran Lotus between 1983 and 1991, took over as acting chief executive in May after Kim Ogaard-Neilson resigned to "pursue his other entrepreneurial interests".

Kimberly told the FT that Lotus is capable of building up to 8,000 units a year of such products, lifting planned output at its Norfolk site in the UK to about 16,000 units a year - almost four times the current level.

It has also emerged this week that Lotus will be making niche volumes of a performance 'plug-in' electric car for US firm, Tesla Motors. The California-based firm says that the new car - developed with Lotus Engineering - breaks new ground as a performance electric car (with a claimed 0-60mph time of 4 seconds allied to a range of 250 miles on full battery charge). It is planned that the car will initially be sold in the US from summer 2007.

Lotus marketing director Robert Tickner told just-auto: "This car is a revolutionary electric vehicle - in terms of its performance and extended range - and we are very pleased to have been involved with its development and its subsequent manufacture."

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