Proton, the Malaysian maker of sedans and taxis that bought control of [] in 1996, hasn't made any profit from the British unit for 15 years and probably won't at least until 2014.
Now that Proton itself may be divested by its state-run parent, investors such as Gan Eng Peng say Lotus Group International Ltd. is ripe for a sale.
"It will make sense for them to sell it," said Gan, who helps oversee about $3.6 billion as head of equities at HwangDBS Investment Management Bhd. in Kuala Lumpur. "Proton and Lotus are not a good fit. They are in different market segments, both in terms of geography and product."
Not only this [] , had to struggle to compete against Porsche AG and Ferrari S.p.A. in Europe, has hung on to relevance in the auto industry partly because of its decades-long expertise in designing lightweight frames.
Still, the company may need the backing of a carmaker more global than Proton to survive in an industry where carmakers such as Saab Automobile are filing for bankruptcy, according to Gan.