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
    27 March 2015
    Lavishly-equipped, rugged-looking Peugeot 508 estate is a pleasant drive, but there are many more recommendable alternatives
  • 308 GT 1.6-litre petrol is priced from £24,095
    First Drive
    27 March 2015
    Peugeot's given the 308 the engine from the 208 GTi 30th and some chassis upgrades; we find out if the changes bring a bit of old-school Peugeot hot-hatch magic to this likeable family hatch.
  • Car review
    26 March 2015
    Does Suzuki's new city runabout have what it takes to succeed?
  • First Drive
    26 March 2015
    Collins Performance has given the Fiesta ST 270bhp and 265lb ft, but has our favourite fast Ford been ruined in the process?
  • First Drive
    26 March 2015
    The Seat Leon X-Perience is the closest thing to an SUV that you can buy with a Seat badge for now, blending estate practicality with off-road ability