Plans for five new sports cars are torn up as Group Lotus submits a “much more realistic” proposal

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.

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27 July 2012

If VW really do buy Proton, Lotus will have plenty of engines to choose from.

31 July 2012

from where I'm sitting one would have to say, unfortunately, yes.

They have no cash, a lot of debt, no new product in the pipeline, no established management team, no sales, no cash to pay suppliers.....and a very poor history as a business.  In the last 20 years to have only turned a profit once or twice just isn't good enough!

Unless (and I think it's a big "if") a large, stable OE can step in, mitigate the debt and quickly produce a short term (2-3 year) rescue plan backed up by a realistic and clear strategy for the longer term, then we're looking at the demise of Group Lotus within this year.

The VW link has been talked up before, but I don't see the synergy.  They have Porsche, Lamborghini and Bentley which pretty much cover all the potential bases for high profit sports cars.  Lotus Cars has little to offer them, Lotus Engineering offers nothing that they cannot do internally with their huge engineering resources.  In the current financial climate why would any OE want to try and rescue Lotus?

I hope I'm wrong for the sake of the 1,200 or so still employed (I hesitate to say working because there's not much doing at Hethel), but this time I think it really is terminal.


11 August 2012

If I had won the recent Euro lotto rollover (£148m) Id have put aside £10m for myself family & friends. The rest I intended to use saving Lotus, straight up. I still will if I ever win.

13 September 2012

I think they should keep the old engine. Lotus seems to be a really nice car. They even have free online auto repair manuals that can be found on many sites. Although people are saying that they have made the right decision, I still think that they did not think about this thoroughly. They are taking a lot of risks here and I don't think they can manage to bring  back their decisions once proven wrong.

11 February 2013

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5 July 2013

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