Currently reading: Lotus buy-out rumoured
Lotus CEO is seeking backing to buy the sportscar maker from current owners, Proton

Lotus chief executive Dany Bahar is looking for financial partners in order to buy the British sports car maker from current owners Proton, according to a report in yesterday’s Sunday Times. Proton has had control of Lotus since 1996.

The Times’ report suggested that Bahar wants a partner with ability to fund Lotus’s future model plans to the tune of £500m.

However, according to the report, the loss-making sports car maker is also being stalked by Genii Capital, which already owns the Lotus F1 team. Genii is said to have been examining the Lotus business for some time and is ‘close to completing due diligence’.

If true, both potential buyers are positioning themselves for a possible Lotus sale within the next few months.

In December last year, Proton was sold to DRB-Hicom, one of Malaysia’s largest corporations, which builds and distributing vehicles, as well as building cars under licence for Honda.

Agency reports from Malaysia in the middle of January quoted Datuk Seri Mohd Khamil Jamil, managing director of DRB-HICOM, as saying that his company would have ‘to sit down and look at all the plans and operations of Lotus’ before deciding to whether to ‘sell or stick with’ Lotus.

‘I need to sit down with the management of Lotus and Proton to see whether the plans are workable as soon as possible’ Khamil Jamil is quoted as telling the Malaysian press.

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Dr Bunsen 31 January 2012

Re: Lotus buy-out rumoured

As a lotus elise owner myself (had mine for 7 years and wouldnt swap it for anything) I have struggled with the notion of Lotus moving to a different market segment - however whilst i love the cars and the brand i am not the sort of customer who is going to make Lotus any meaningfull cash! - same as Dynamic and his elise, plus most other Lotus enthusiasts who would never part with their pride and joy.

If Lotus are to make money - Its the customers who buy a new car every couple of years or rush out to but the next big thing seen in the press or (god forbid) music videos etc etc they need to target. Sad but true.

Dynamic 31 January 2012

Re: Lotus buy-out rumoured

What's so wrong with an Elise? These are superb cars bought by enthusiasts, not poseurs! Lotus could still be in the market with a proper small and light no frills sportscar. But then it would be nice to see it nurtured and financed by a more mainstream manufacturer that could use its expertise to develop cars with sorted chassis and offering high levels of performance for their capacity and price. Remember Cortina Lotus and Elan, Europe, Seven... that's where Lotus belongs, definitely not trying to compete with Porsche or Ferrari! Caterham is doing fairly well, why couldn't Lotus? Then again, it would mean going back to facilities more akin to cottage industry but who cares? Lotus means exclusivity, gorgous looks and an unbeatable driving experience on the road. Big engines and 200 MPH+ cars full of creature conforts don't go along together easily. True Bahar has a plan, he has high profile people with him but... remember, at first they wanted to drop the Elise altogether and then realized it was about the only product making a bit of money for Lotus. Cutting a brand from its customer base overnight trying to flog "me too" supercars spells disaster and nothing else. If all the money that's been poured into developping those 5 new cars had been used to sort out and develop a good looking Mk3 Elise attracting rave reviews from the press and evolve it into a proper range with an Exige successor (although with limited capacity, say 2 l. max) plus a rawer trackday only car, some limited edition cars in the mould of the 340 R, all using as many mainstream manufacturer parts as possible... why couldn't it be working? Toyota seems a viable link, the company looking now to change its dowdy image. Would be sad to see Lotus go, definitely!!!!! I'm the (very) proud owner of a 99T Elise since last year and I just love it...;-)

gussy51 31 January 2012

Re: Lotus buy-out rumoured

Ok, my opinion is that the current plan has a lot of merit and a patient owner with the right funds could make it work (as you may have noticed in previous posts!).

However lets say for the sake of argument that this is wrong and Lotus does need a partner. A volume brand like Ford, GM, Hyundai, etc. doesn't have much technology to share with Lotus so this is relatively pointless as Lotus would still need to spend much the same developing the new cars.

Meanwhile Aston Martin is more than capable of selling 5,000 cars a year but can't quite figure out how they can affordably produce a new platform to underpin their next generation of cars.

So would there be a potential for these two to merge some backroom activities and also jointly develop the platform and engines they need for the future?

Lotus would concentrate on the Evora and Esprit (and a limited number of Elise's for the trackday market). It wouldn't be too unbelievable to get to 3,000-3,500 sales a year.

Aston could meanwhile build successors to the current range on the platform that would have underpinned the Elite and Eterne. So theres another 5,000 sales.

Plus Lotus first showed their platform on an SUV concept a few years ago, so potentially a Lagonda saloon or SUV could be spun off for another 1,500 sales.

Suddenly the combined businesses have combined sales of nearly 10,000 cars on one platform and in high margin segments. That would surely be very profitable!