Parent company’s new owner backs Lotus’s five-year plan

Lotus boss Dany Bahar has been ordered to continue the five-year programme he devised two years ago to replace the entire Lotus model range, even though Malaysian parent company Proton is in the process of being acquired by a new owner, DRB Hicom.

Progress at Hethel will slow over the next two months, Bahar says, because Malaysian law entails a 60-day change-of-ownership process, during which time Lotus will not have access to previously agreed Proton funds. This will also result in some delays in the development of the new models, which could set back the launch date of the new Esprit by as much as six months, as well as creating shorter delays for the Exige S and Evora GTE.

“We have explained our plans to the new owner,” the Lotus CEO told Autocar in an exclusive interview, “and have been told to keep going as we are. The immediate problem is to manage the cash in the business carefully during the 60-day pause, but I am confident that this is a temporary technical issue.”

Proton’s new owners are reportedly “open” to talks about the sale of Lotus, but Bahar dismisses as speculation suggestions the company is close to being sold to one of a number of supposed suitors, including the Luxembourg-based private investment company Genii, which already owns the Lotus F1 team.

“To the best of my knowledge, no one is about to buy the company,” said Bahar. “You’d have to consider the market implications before deciding to sell. Right now we have crazy demand for the latest Exige — 383 orders already. The Evora GTE will be homologated by May, and we have 200 orders for that. Things are looking really promising.”

Lotus is now more than two years into its five-year plan, Bahar pointed out. “Our new gearbox is on the dyno and our new V8 supercar engine is running and progressing on schedule. We will have supercar prototypes to test in May. We’ve spent so much money already that it would be silly to write it off.”

Steve Cropley

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21

15 February 2012

I understand that Dany Bahar has received strong expressions of interest from the planet Mars. No, really.

Seriously, I would like Lotus to survive, but who wants them? The big boys either have the brands, eg VW, FIAT, or have tried buying in and screwed it up, eg Ford, GM, or have the ability to go it alone or create a new brand, eg Toyota. Who does that leave? The Chinese?

15 February 2012

ohhhhh I do think it was me who mentioned - waiting for the roof to fall on my head - that in my view Lotus is for the knackers yard. My opinion hasnt changed. When you hear the new oners "looking to sell" one understands that little enthusiasm means a death rattle. The only reason they told Bahr to continue is window dressing and they know he has little funding

15 February 2012

DRB Hicom will be looking at buying Proton in its entirety at the moment and part of that include careful due diligence on Lotus.

If they are going to asset strip it will be after the sale (and may be a little further down the five year plan path to make it more attractive), so I think they are "safe" for the moment.

Even if they are eventually sold off to Genii, I don't see that being a problem either. Genii are clearly interested in the motor industry (if their commitment to F1 is anything to go by) and they could be the best option as a long term owner of the company.

 

 

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

Myk

15 February 2012

"We’ve spent so much money already that it would be silly to write it off.”

That sounds awfully like one of those things you're not supposed to say out loud. Like "You know, I've never had a car accident". Tempting fate.

15 February 2012

Don't understand how a company that makes the stunning Elise can be so unwanted.

 

Hydrogen cars just went POP

15 February 2012

[quote xxxx]the stunning Elise can be so unwanted[/quote]

It is wanted, it has sold reasonably well for a small operation. The problem is not the car - its looks, its performance or its pedigree. The problem is the price v profitability. The Elise as far as I have been able to find out hasnt made a profit to this date.

15 February 2012

[quote xxxx]Don't understand how a company that makes the stunning Elise can be so unwanted. [/quote]

Ditto Aston Martin. But I suppose with the mammoth costs involved and the cut throat competition, making cars these days is a mug's game. Unless your name is Toyoda.

DKW

15 February 2012

[quote 275not599]I would like Lotus to survive, but who wants them?[/quote] Don't underestimate the power of the brand. Both Rolls Royce and Bentley were has-beens when they were purchased, and they are now stronger than many other brands. Lotus as a brand is far greater than their current line up. Incidentally, I spoke with a Lotus engineer at the weekend, who is working on the V8. It's 5 litres, and uses a belt driven mechanical supercharger to produce 600 bhp for immediacy of response. Lotus's last V8 was a mixed bag but this unit is having a lot more development put into it - I'm keen to see what they come up with.

15 February 2012

[quote petrolheadinrussia]

[quote xxxx]the stunning Elise can be so unwanted[/quote]

It is wanted, it has sold reasonably well for a small operation. The problem is not the car - its looks, its performance or its pedigree. The problem is the price v profitability. The Elise as far as I have been able to find out hasnt made a profit to this date.[/quote]

Actually said "Don't understand how a company that makes the stunning Elise....... " didn't say the car said the company

 

Hydrogen cars just went POP

15 February 2012

Colin Chapman did what Enzo Ferrari did, creating and selling sports cars to support their Motorsport efforts. A simple successful self sustaining ethos perfect for the time. Following on from that has been difficult for all concerned while various ways have been explored and different owners have tried to find direction for the company and its' products. It will be interesting to see how Lotus develops and I very much hope it survives.

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