Lotus is assisting Proton in developing new cars, but further co-operation has been questioned
2 June 2011

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

  • Audi Q2 1.4 TFSI 150 S tronic
    First Drive
    29 May 2016
    We head to Havana to find out how the new Audi Q2 is shaping up ahead of its November launch
  • Seat Leon 1.4 EcoTSI FR Titanium
    First Drive
    27 May 2016
    High-spec new Titanium FR trim is temptingly good value, particularly on the semi-enthusiastic 1.4 EcoTSI petrol
  • Kia Niro
    First Drive
    27 May 2016
    The Kia Niro will be one of the greenest cars in the compact crossover class when it goes on sale later this year. We drive it to see what else it has to offer
  • Car review
    27 May 2016
    Can the turbocharged successor to the 458 raise the bar again?
  • Car review
    27 May 2016
    The big-in-every-way Bentley SUV lands. We assess the impact