Lotus CEO is seeking backing to buy the sportscar maker from current owners, Proton

Lotus chief executive Dany Bahar is looking for financial partners in order to buy the British sports car maker from current owners Proton, according to a report in yesterday’s Sunday Times. Proton has had control of Lotus since 1996.

The Times’ report suggested that Bahar wants a partner with ability to fund Lotus’s future model plans to the tune of £500m.

However, according to the report, the loss-making sports car maker is also being stalked by Genii Capital, which already owns the Lotus F1 team. Genii is said to have been examining the Lotus business for some time and is ‘close to completing due diligence’.

If true, both potential buyers are positioning themselves for a possible Lotus sale within the next few months.

In December last year, Proton was sold to DRB-Hicom, one of Malaysia’s largest corporations, which builds and distributing vehicles, as well as building cars under licence for Honda.

Agency reports from Malaysia in the middle of January quoted Datuk Seri Mohd Khamil Jamil, managing director of DRB-HICOM, as saying that his company would have ‘to sit down and look at all the plans and operations of Lotus’ before deciding to whether to ‘sell or stick with’ Lotus.

‘I need to sit down with the management of Lotus and Proton to see whether the plans are workable as soon as possible’ Khamil Jamil is quoted as telling the Malaysian press.

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30 January 2012

And as expected none of the new cars (new Esprit excepted but delayed for a couple of years) will ever be built. All this was never really on from the start. I imagine that the new owner will stop development of everything bar the Esprit and new Elise. The Evora will soldier on being regularly updated until about 2020. New engine? There's every chance that will be canned. If Toyota isn't sexy enough surely engines from BMW/Merc would be a better idea. Prestige name and brilliant performance and reliability. Just an opinion...

30 January 2012

Oh oh this doesnt look good . Frankly Im unsure of what would be best for Lotus though .

30 January 2012

As the Aston Martin example shows the likes of Lotus need meaningful relationships with major car companies rather than with venture capitalists who fancy a flutter.

30 January 2012

[quote jmd67]And as expected none of the new cars (new Esprit excepted but delayed for a couple of years) will ever be built.[/quote]

Under the original plans announced the Esprit wasn't to be launched until next year, and I haven't heard any rumours of any delays, there has been video clips of the new V8 running for months now!

I agree it is unlikely that everything shown will be built, for an independent car maker the new Elise looks like it would be difficult to make a profit on and the Ethos might be a waste of time without Proton. However if you remove these two models from the plan there isn't a huge amount of difference between Lotus' and McLaren's plans.

McLaren's launch is realsitically even more ambitious why is no one criticising them?

If Lotus can't develop a new Elise then they need to make a low volume successor to the 2-Eleven though. It would be unthinkable for Lotus not to offer a relatively affordable track car.

30 January 2012

[quote Londonist]As the Aston Martin example shows the likes of Lotus need meaningful relationships with major car companies rather than with venture capitalists who fancy a flutter.[/quote]

Absolutely. Both Aston and Lotus need to start courting the Germans and Japanese very quickly if another Saab saga is going to be avoided.

30 January 2012

Which car company is next?

30 January 2012

Personally, I think this is the right time for Bahr to be in control of the company. Yes that may differ other peoples opinions but look at it like this.

If nothing else Bahr has raised the profile of the company far higher than it was, say four years ago. He has a strategy, plans and (probably) some decent engineering on the table. At least they have half a chance of getting some serious interest from buyers, something they may not have done in the past.

 

 

It's all about the twisties........

30 January 2012

[quote lonegoose]

[quote Londonist]As the Aston Martin example shows the likes of Lotus need meaningful relationships with major car companies rather than with venture capitalists who fancy a flutter.[/quote]

Absolutely. Both Aston and Lotus need to start courting the Germans and Japanese very quickly if another Saab saga is going to be avoided.

[/quote]

Unfortunately so very true.

For Lotus, that's exactly what I said Proton would want to do - ditch it as quickly as possible. The plans are ambitious at best, and even if they only delivered half the models they've promised so far it's quite a challenge. Sales may not be any better than they are now, but then their current line-up does seem over priced.

Comparisons to McLaren? McLaren have one previous car, and it changed how people look at "supercars". The MP4-12C is out of the box quick, probably quicker for an ordinary driver to drive than the Ferrari given that it's planted to the road better. You just know it's going to be well built. And it's from one of the most successful F1 teams of all time. That's the difference.

30 January 2012

[quote Londonist]As the Aston Martin example shows the likes of Lotus need meaningful relationships with major car companies rather than with venture capitalists who fancy a flutter.[/quote]

could not have put it better! The Evora is a great car. It just needs to feel better screwed together, less like your typical British airfix racer and more like an actual robust product worthy of the price tag. That's where meaningful relationships bear fruit.

30 January 2012

"Comparisons to McLaren?"

As I understand it McLaren are adding other cars above the MP4-12C (using the same engine) and an entry level car below it. All will use the same platform and engine.

Lotus are building three cars using the same platform and engine including a 4 seater, 5 door model that will probably be a good seller in emerging markets. They will also have at least one cheaper entry level model that I'm certain will use a bought in V6.

Both companies are aiming for similar numbers of sales.

We can't tell too much about the standards of the new cars either. Sure the McLaren is good, but Lotus has done a huge amount of catching up in a short space of time. There are now lots of ex-Porsche and Mercedes people there.

Lotus also isn't that far off McLaren in terms of hstory in F1 and arguably is a more significant brand in general motorsport. The Enstone team now taking the Lotus name has won championships in the last decade and can potentially win again. With some stability with the branding after the last two years of changes and the 14 years they were absent from the grid, people will quickly remember what Lotus were all about.

Plus overall I don't buy this idea that they need to be owned by a bigger company there is limits to the technology that can be shared with volume makers. I think a substantial technical partnership (perhaps linked to an F1 engine deal?) would do the trick. Volume manufacturers are suffering at the moment its probably better for Lotus to develop independently into a profit maker and then look for a partner not the other way around. At the moment sales of super luxury cars are continuing to increase, its the middle market were the problems are.

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