Struggling Malaysian company Proton could be taken over by PSA following a lengthy period of financial uncertainty
Sam Sheehan
20 February 2017

The PSA Group is in negotiations with Proton to purchase the company, but the Lotus brand could be bought by Chinese manufacturer Geely, reports suggest.

Geely pulls out of Proton bidding process

Although currently negotiating a deal to takeover General Motors Europe, PSA has confirmed it is talking to Proton over a move and is reportedly ready to invest and build a new plant in Malaysia.

A spokesperson for PSA said: "We are in the process of negotiation and have no further comments to add at this time."

Chinese manufacturer Geely, which owns Volvo, is also interested in purchasing Proton but may be offered a deal to take only Lotus. Those terms could suit PSA, which has less interest in the Lotus brand.

Proton is looking to get a foreign partner involved in the business after being bailed out by the Chinese government six months ago following a long period of poor financial results.

It is thought PSA's plans for Proton include building a new plant to raise its output in the South East Asian market, which would aid PSA's Push to Pass strategy. Reports suggest PSA is aiming to raise Proton's production capacity up to 2 million units from the current 150,000.

Proton is itself owned by DRB-Hicom, a large Malaysian conglomerate, and last year revealed it would consider offering Lotus to the market in its attempts to save the ailing Proton brand.

At that time PSA, Renault and Suzuki were reported to have all voiced interest in purchasing Proton, but the purchase of Lotus was still uncertain.

This isn’t the first time the future of Lotus and its parent company have been cast into doubt - six years ago, Proton faced similar financial issues. However, the purchase of both brands by DRB-Hicom enabled Lotus to commit to a more secure future.

This future includes an all-new Lotus Elise that will go on sale in 2020. Comment about the model’s development coincided with news that Lotus has made a profit for the first time in two decades.

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Comments
26

23 September 2016
Proton and then DRB-Hicom deserve credit for standing by Lotus for so long. Perhaps less so for giving Danny Bahar a job.

23 September 2016
k12479 wrote:

Proton and then DRB-Hicom deserve credit for standing by Lotus for so long. Perhaps less so for giving Danny Bahar a job.

Given the funds Bahar may have saved Lotus, they're still selling too few cars.

20 February 2017
[quote=k12479]Proton and then DRB-Hicom deserve credit for standing by Lotus for so long. Perhaps less so for giving Danny Bahar a job.[/quote] Ive always said that JLR takeover of Lotus makes sound financial sense. Lotus needs car and SUV platforms aswell as a worldwide access to dealerships whereas Jaguar needs to build the F-Type with a partner on a sports car platform. Plus it would be brilliant to see a mid engine F-Type with maybe a smaller front rear drive car to slot below the F-type. Not to mention the fact that Jaguar could learn how to save some serious weight. Instead it will probably be Volvo who ends up building cars with Lotus and gaining the benefits. There is no reason why Lotus couldn't directly compete with Porsche with JLR backing. Think Audi/Porsche relationship between Jaguar and Lotus.

20 February 2017
[quote=GODFATHER][quote=k12479]Proton and then DRB-Hicom deserve credit for standing by Lotus for so long. Perhaps less so for giving Danny Bahar a job.[/quote] Ive always said that JLR takeover of Lotus makes sound financial sense. Lotus needs car and SUV platforms aswell as a worldwide access to dealerships whereas Jaguar needs to build the F-Type with a partner on a sports car platform. Plus it would be brilliant to see a mid engine F-Type with maybe a smaller front rear drive car to slot below the F-type. Not to mention the fact that Jaguar could learn how to save some serious weight. Instead it will probably be Volvo who ends up building cars with Lotus and gaining the benefits. There is no reason why Lotus couldn't directly compete with Porsche with JLR backing. Think Audi/Porsche relationship between Jaguar and Lotus.[/quote] Sorry to be blunt, but are you a lunatic?Lotus need Jaguar platforms. Jaguar can get volume savings by partnering with Lotus who might sell a few thousand if very lucky. A mid engined F-Type, just how big is that market? Ditto a smaller rear drive sports car. Lotus methods could be applied to Jaguar, reek of fibre glass anyone? Does Audi share anything with Porsche except perhaps Q7/Q5? Maybe working with the engineering side, but certainly not the car side. Lunacy, you're not Danny Bahar are you?

20 February 2017
[quote=GODFATHER][quote=k12479]Proton and then DRB-Hicom deserve credit for standing by Lotus for so long. Perhaps less so for giving Danny Bahar a job.[/quote] Ive always said that JLR takeover of Lotus makes sound financial sense. Lotus needs car and SUV platforms aswell as a worldwide access to dealerships whereas Jaguar needs to build the F-Type with a partner on a sports car platform. Plus it would be brilliant to see a mid engine F-Type with maybe a smaller front rear drive car to slot below the F-type. Not to mention the fact that Jaguar could learn how to save some serious weight. Instead it will probably be Volvo who ends up building cars with Lotus and gaining the benefits. There is no reason why Lotus couldn't directly compete with Porsche with JLR backing. Think Audi/Porsche relationship between Jaguar and Lotus.[/quote] Sorry to be blunt, but are you a lunatic?Lotus need Jaguar platforms. Jaguar can get volume savings by partnering with Lotus who might sell a few thousand if very lucky. A mid engined F-Type, just how big is that market? Ditto a smaller rear drive sports car. Lotus methods could be applied to Jaguar, reek of fibre glass anyone? Does Audi share anything with Porsche except perhaps Q7/Q5? Maybe working with the engineering side, but certainly not the car side. Lunacy, you're not Danny Bahar are you?

21 February 2017
The 'J' in JLR cannot compete with Porsche's sports car range right now,so why they would use Lotus of all people to provide access to greater volume makes no sense since Lotus doesn't have any volume either...!! Sorry, old chap, but you're wrong there. Volvo has thrived under Geely. The D5 has an interior that shames any Jag product and the overall product is thoroughly modern proposition. Of all potential suitors it appears that Geely is the smartest in managing an 'old' European brand. Let's hope they wind up the owners.

BertoniBertone

23 September 2016
Credit to Proton for sticking with it but time to hand over to an owner under which Lotus can thrive and get access to more resources - come on Toyota take a stake

23 September 2016
Might make more sense for Apple to be speaking to Lotus rather than McLaren, although neither are actually high volume producers...

A Lotus sports car with a Suzuki engine would be quite something and the Japanese could also be interested in a Malaysian presence given their interests in Indonesia and the surrounding region?

db

23 September 2016
Maybe a better fit would be Tata group that owns JLR if you look at what they are managing with them then Lotus could potentially flourish long term with stable funding and a business plan for products that sell in financially viable numbers.

23 September 2016
Go on Gaydon. Buy Lotus - perfect product fit, another great UK brand, your experience of turning round an under performing business...

... oh and you'd get the test track (in Hethel) that you wanted in the Silverstone deal that Porsche seem determined to scupper.

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