Bahar will be entrusted to oversee the next stage of Lotus's ambitious growth plans

Group Lotus chief executive Dany Bahar has signed a new four-year contact to lead the firm following a meeting with the management of Lotus’s parent company Proton last week. His previous contract had been due to expire in 2012.

“The Proton dedication to our plans has always been solid, and the decision to extend my contract a year early is a signal of that commitment,” said Bahar.

Bahar arrived at Lotus in October 2009 and spent the first year of his stay developing an ambitious five-year business plan that was presented at the 2010 Paris motor show. It included six all-new models ranging from a new city car to an Aston Martin Rapide-sized luxury sports saloon.

The first of the new cars to arrive will be the Esprit in 2013 and all will be on sale by 2018 if Lotus is successful in its transformation from loss-making small sports car maker to a full-blown multi-model Porsche rival.

Since then, Bahar has revealed plans for Lotus to develop its own V6 and V8 engines, plus its own transmission. He is currently in the process of overhauling the current range of Lotus cars, chief among them a substantially revised Evora for 2012 and a switch to V6 power for the track-focused Exige.

In addition to Bahar’s desire for Lotus to become a “British Porsche” with its road cars, the ex-Ferrari and Red Bull man has also overseen a huge expansion of the Norfolk firm’s motorsport activities.

This has included everything from much greater involvement in Formula One and a return to Le Mans, as well as IndyCar and rallying programmes.

Jim Holder

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