Lotus is assisting Proton in developing new cars, but further co-operation has been questioned

Lotus is now helping its owner Proton to develop a range of cars, boss Dany Bahar has revealed — but he has questioned the scope for 
further co-operation.

Proton “is getting the benefit [of owning Lotus] for the first time”, according to Bahar. Hethel is helping with several models, including a global city car that will also be developed into the small Lotus revealed at the Paris show last autumn.

Bahar says that the new baby hatch will look just like the concept — which he describes as “beautiful” — or not happen at all.

See pics of the new Lotus city car

Going forward, Bahar believes that a company the size of Lotus cannot develop cars that meet stringent emission and crash regulations on its own.

Although it’s owned by Proton, Bahar says Lotus’s products are too far removed for this to be a real help. He sees a tie-up with, or sale to, another maker (perhaps Toyota) as an exit strategy for Proton and the other investors in the plan. Alternatively, the company could be floated.

Lotus is also planning to reapply for a UK regional development loan (already rejected once) to build a new factory at Hethel for its Elite and Eterne, creating up to 1000 jobs. If the application fails, the cars will be built by Magna in Austria.

See all the latest Lotus reviews, news and video

Add your comment

Log in or register to post comments

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

  • First Drive
    21 May 2015
    The DS 5 is hard to pigeonhole but it works as a package. Impressive French-style long-range cruiser, albeit at strong money for an unproven brand
  • Car review
    21 May 2015
    The industry's biggest power makes a plug-in hybrid for the masses
  • First Drive
    21 May 2015
    The 4C improves, and the Spider is a good conversion, but it remains dynamically troubled and absurdly expensive
  • First Drive
    21 May 2015
    More traction and nothing separating Jag's monstrous V8 mouthpiece from your ears. It's the shoutiest, priciest F-Type on sale, but is it the best?
  • First Drive
    20 May 2015
    The C63 may have lost its big V8, but its replacement makes it difficult to mourn