Group Lotus owner DRB-Hicom has dismissed chief executive Dany Bahar from his role with immediate effect

Group Lotus has dismissed Dany Bahar from his post as chief executive with immediate effect.

A statement issued today said the decision was made by the board of Group Lotus plc following the results of an investigation into a complaint made against Bahar by the company's owner, DRB-Hicom.

Bahar was suspended from his role last month. A report in the Sunday Telegraph at the time said the suspension was related to an investigation into his expenses.

Aslam Farikullah, one of three DRB-Hicom executives who took over the running of Lotus when Bahar was suspended, has been installed as the company’s chief operating officer.

Bahar joined Lotus from Ferrari in September 2009, and started an ambitious programme to launch up to six new models and make the Norfolk car manufacturer profitable. These were all revealed at the Paris motor show in 2010.

The Lotus five-year plan, as Bahar christened it, has evolved in the 20 months since. Lotus has since started development of its own engine and gearbox, and has focused development on just one new model, the Esprit, while continuing to improve the current range of Elise, Exige and Evora models.

But the future of Lotus has been in limbo since parent firm Proton was sold to Malaysian automotive investor DRB-Hicom earlier this year.

Today's statement included some positive words about the future of Lotus from DRB-Hicom's group managing director, Dato' Sri Haji Mohd Khamil Jamil, who said: "I would like to assure you that we remain committed to ensure the ongoing and future business operations of the Lotus Group as we take the Lotus Group to the next level to remain relevant in the global automotive industry.

"I look forward to bringing mutual benefits to not only DRB-Hicom and Proton Holdings but also the Lotus Group and its employees as well as contribute to the growth of the British automotive industry."

Our Verdict

The Lotus Evora S rides and handles in a way that puts nearly everything else in its shade. Shame the interior doesn't match the price tag

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22

7 June 2012

Say what you like about Bahar, but 'his' Lotuses have been good 'uns, thus far: the new Exige is mighty fine and, by all accounts, so is the new Elise S.

It's just a shame about all the behind-the-scenes weirdness/loony tunes. 

7 June 2012

Having been up and down in a variety of organisations, I must admit that I really do hate politics in organisations. Folk spend so much time covering their back they cant see where they are going. It is tiresome and even worse, it is time consumed from the actual job, and that has to be bad. At the top, like Danny boy, you have to be fast on your feet and spend way too much time kissing the posteria of those who are often dictators with too much money. Feel sad for him, but he knows and most of us knew - this was coming, the writing was on the wall for a while. It will not help Lotus, or those who worked with him either.

what's life without imagination

7 June 2012

There's no doubt I love Lotus.

But frankly with these latest shennanigans, I can only see decline. Sure, Bahar was controversial, but in the context of the business, he has been the real leader who has brought in an excellent team that could have really made things happen.

DRB-Hicom clearly wanted their own man in charge and couldn't live with someone with Bahar's drive. Who knows what really happened with his expenses, but a smart leadership would have balanced that against the overall benefit to the organization. A slap on the wrist, a cut in salary, repaying overpaid amounts. Any of these could have been a solution. But they wanted him out, and that's what they got.

Now, don't be surprised if a lot of the talent who came with or because of him slowly drain away. Without the talent, Lotus has no 5 year plan. It has some models that are currently viable (but which struggle as potential customers doubt the company will be there to stand behind its products in the future), but without pushing through with major new model development right now, there is no future in 2 or 3 years time.

I hope I'm wrong, and I know Lotus has dodged more bullets than Neo in its time, but I can't help but feel negative about their long-term prospects. If DRB-Hicom are serious about really turning Lotus around (and getting the kind of benefit that Tata is seeing from JLR), they need to stump up the cash and quickly find a credible visionary leader to make it happen.

++ Japan car auction purchasing and exporting from IntegrityExports.com ++

jer

7 June 2012

I suppose DRB Hicom plans are different, they no doubt winced at so much cash drain and might have wanted to see more revenue from the existing engineering and road car operations. They could not change direction with Barr after he put so much behind the 5 year plan. The expenses  may or may not be real, strangely in the business world I have seen the same reason for expulsion before. Something about grand plans and big visions makes people a bit lax with the dividing line between company and private expenses!

7 June 2012

To be honest, given the stories that have been reported about Lotus the writing was pretty much on the wall once he was suspended, and certainly after reports it was due to expenses. Businesses are being very cautious with money at the moment (unsurprisingly) so anything suggesting financial profligacy or taking advantage of a position of power is not likely to end very well. Without the full facts it's difficult to say what actually led to his downfall, but in order for termination with immediate effect to be applied it must be something pretty serious. It's certainly a sad way for things to end.

That said, I can't help but say I'm not surprised he was dismissed - leaving aside the allegations regarding expenses, during his tenure Group Lotus had very little to show from the investment made into it besides some tweaks to existing models (I use the term "tweak" quite broadly), a refurbished test track and a motorsport programme which has faltered more than it has flourished. The court cases regarding its brand in F1 have also arguably done some damage commercially, and all in all it doesn't add up to a very positive image of where Group Lotus is right now and where it's going. I can only hope there is more to come than currently meets the eye, otherwise I am very concerned for the future of Lotus.

7 June 2012

His plans for taking Lotus way upmarket cannot have helped either, completely crazy idea in my opinion.

7 June 2012

Im sorry to read this, because this man was the only one in a long while at Lotus who had real vision and  implemented this in some very impressive revisions to the Evora (GTE) and Exige (V6 S ).

Now we have some random CEO from a distribution company with no soul or passion for cars, running the dismal show...well done. 

I fear that Lotus is facing an uphill struggle it will fail to overcome.

7 June 2012

Anybody who has been following the change of majority ownership in Proton from the governments Khazanah Holdings to DRB-Hicom would know how it is used as a puppet to make money for political cronies. Just a month after the sale of Khazanah shares to DRB, at a lost of course, Proton came out with a new model that is arguably the best car Proton has ever made, the Preve. Pretty nice set up that government funded a new model and its possible sale success would go to a private company with shares given to VIPimps. Someone needs to pull Lotus out of this messy group. Proton has always been the subject of more politics than technology eventhough Lotus did try, their parts supplier are all politically tied. I look forward to Lotus going to better hands. I mean, the majority share holders of DRB-Hicom comes from the same state as Malaysia vocal ex-Prime Miniter Mahathir and thats the era where DRB made most of him.

 

7 June 2012

When we decide someones on too much for what they do or they don't really figure in our plans the first thing we do is check every receipt has been filed and dated correctly and signed - looking for that one that will catch them out.

 

Sad world we live in.....

Here's to the crazy ones......

7 June 2012

I for one am really pleased to see Bahar gone. The Lotus Engineers have continued to hone and improve their offerings, but I've only seen very poorly judged moves from Bahar and any 'talent' he's brought onboard. Those awful bodykits and his whole upmarket aspiration for the 'brand' (sorry, it's a marque) were always wrong for Lotus. I shudder to think how much money he's wasted to get parked at Indy and drag the name of Lotus through the mud in F1 (when there was already a wealthy enthusiast there prepared to give them free advertising). That investment should have gone into delivering a realistic range of Lotus cars, ideally one that could have been sold off by Proton as a profitable going concern.

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