Lotus-CarltonLotus has revealed plans to develop both an SUV and a large D-sector executive car, according to reports from Malaysia.

Utusan Online says Lotus CEO Jean-Marc Gales made the presentation this week to company execs at Proton’s HQ in Malaysia. The plans were part of a long-term action strategy for the firm that detailed future products.

The SUV plans could finally progress an idea Lotus has been contemplating for years: it first showed an SUV concept, called APX, at the 2006 Geneva Motor Show. It was built on a flexible all-aluminium platform dubbed Lotus Versatile Vehicle Architecture and today is used as a case study for Lotus Engineering’s full vehicle development expertise.

But the news Lotus wants to develop a new executive car is initially more surprising, despite controversial CEO Dany Bahar revealing a four-door during his 2010 Paris Motor Show five-car product launch.

However, both sectors are key ones in the vital Chinese market – sports car rival Porsche’s profits are largely driven by its Cayenne SUV and Panamera executive four-door and it seems Gales has concluded Lotus needs to follow suit.

While enthusiasts may bristle at the thought of a Lotus SUV, the idea of a Lotus executive car may be more welcome: in the 1990s, Lotus and Vauxhall launched the iconic Lotus Carlton, a car so fast British tabloids called for it to be banned.

More recently, Lotus Engineering has been gaining plentiful experience of the executive saloon car market through engineering projects for other manufacturers. The most recent Lotus-tuned saloon to be launched is the £50,000 Hyundai Genesis.

Lotus has not yet officially revealed its future plans and the news of its desire to build an SUV and executive saloon are from insider leaks following Gales’ presentation. Both are logical though, and could help secure the long-term sustainability of the business – particularly if the new cars are built on an intentionally flexible new Lotus platform architecture.

Is businesslike product logic finally prevailing at Lotus?