Esprit could live on, but not with a Lotus-built engine
Group Lotus has submitted a new business plan that significantly scales down its previous ambitions under sacked CEO Dany Bahar, according to media reports in Malaysia.
Under Bahar, Lotus planned to launch five all-new sports cars powered by the company’s own engines and gearboxes. But the plan was put on hold when Lotus’s parent company, Proton, was sold to Malaysian automotive investor DRB-Hicom at the start of the year.
DRB-Hicom has now taken over day-to-day running of Lotus following Bahar’s sacking last month, with Aslam Farikullah installed as chief operating officer.
Citing banking sources, the business media in Malaysia claims that a new business plan has been submitted to Lotus’s six main creditors.
Sources describe the plan as “much more realistic” than Bahar’s plan, which was described as “basically unworkable”.
No details have been given of the plan’s contents, and neither Lotus nor DRB-Hicom would comment on the reports.
It’s possible that the new Esprit supercar will survive the axe, given that it was the only one of the new models in development. But it’s unlikely to retain a costly Lotus-developed engine and gearbox.
Launching a new Esprit but scrapping plans for the other four new models would still give Lotus’s recently overhauled range a flagship supercar. It is also a sector in which Lotus has experience — unlike luxury saloons and hybrid GTs, which Bahar’s plan contained.
The first evidence of the scaling back of plans is Lotus’s laying off of 50 contractors, who were understood to be working on new projects rather than existing models.