Lotus’s new owner “is not thinking about a sale” according to sources
Steve Cropley Autocar
10 May 2012

Lotus’s new owner “is not thinking about a sale” according to sources close to the Norfolk sports car maker.

The managing director of Proton’s new owner, DRB-HICOM, Dato’ Sri Haji Mohd Khamil Bin Jamil, made the comment last week during a visit to Lotus’s Hethel HQ, near Norwich, intended to reassure management and staff.

Dato’ Jamil said he could “never say never” about a sale, but insisted that selling was not DRB-HICOM’s priority. He said his management would “take time” to understand the Hethel business, but would support it financially in the meantime. Formulating a plan for Lotus could take months, he said, because the situation was complex and a careful decision was needed.

Malaysian-based car-maker Proton, formerly owned by interests close to the Malaysian government, acquired Lotus in 1996 and always insisted that Lotus was one of its key assets. But Proton was itself sold to automotive giant DRB-HICOM three months ago. The deal introduced uncertainties at Lotus, especially when a spokesman said DRB was “willing to talk” about selling Hethel. Matters were complicated by 60 days of financial stringency — required under Malaysian corporate law — which starved Lotus of cash at a critical stage of its ambitious expansion programme.

Car production has now resumed following the 60-day financial hiatus, and development continues on the existing models, Elise, Exige and Evora. Lotus expects to present several new derivatives of these at its celebrations at the Goodwood Festival at the end of June. The company is also continuing to develop its new Esprit supercar, due next year. But whether and when work will resume on the other new models proposed in MD Dany Bahar’s original five-year plan remain open questions.

While partly reassured by Dato’ Jamil’s statement, Lotus-watchers believe the company continues in a kind of limbo, damaging to business, which will only be truly resolved when the DRB-HICOM reaches its long-term decision.

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Comments
12

10 May 2012

Its quite difficult to sell a car company. ask saab, and maybe aston martin. mind you lotus could save a few million by axing their indy car programme. Now that they ' have ' an F1 team, (in name at least).

www.KOOOLcr.com

 

10 May 2012

'cos they will end up in bankrupcy, no one dares to buy insolvent entities, ask SAAB.

Lots Of Troubles Usually Serious

10 May 2012

Ohe Yes they will sell it, Mr KhamilJamil knows it, Lotus knows it as well as everyone else.

The problem is finding a legitimate buyer other than chinese scrap dealers!!

10 May 2012

[quote coolboy]

'cos they will end up in bankrupcy, no one dares to buy insolvent entities, ask SAAB.

Lots Of Troubles Usually Serious

[/quote] /\ (YAWN) Typical negative comment probably picked from a selection of inane contributions in Pistonheads.... The fact is, Lotus has a very successful consultancy arm and have proven to produce some very capable sports cars. Any owner would be a fool not to see the potential. Moreover, Danny Bahar has the right idea in re-branding the Company through updating the current models to its association with motorsport, and creating an organic Esprit with its own V8 engine -I trust that they will do well and wish them all the best.

10 May 2012

same as here, same as here!

but... now is 2012, Toyota sells appliances by the bucketload, GM, with some discutible policies even more and Volkswagen with their policy of copy & paste, don`t invent if it works is in the path of vaporise them both.

now, I wish a merry luck to Lotus, a warm Christmas and a happy new year.

10 May 2012

I would hazard a guess that DRB-Hicom have realised they need to look at Lotus as a long term proposition, be that to sell the company or keeping for themselves.

Lotus are currently in the middle of "restructuring" their model range and it would be pointless to do anything but see that through at the moment. Without the substance of actual new vehicles, rather than mules and prototypes the company is (relatively) worthless.

Also, does anyone know if Lotus is still split in to two companies, Cars and Engineering? (I have lost track recently). If they are, then the Engineering consultancy side will be invaluable to DRB-Hicom, especially if they are intending to develop the Proton range.

 

 

It's all about the twisties........

11 May 2012

[quote gaco1]The fact is, Lotus has a very successful consultancy arm and have proven to produce some very capable sports cars. Any owner would be a fool not to see the potential. [/quote]

He's right, of course - as usual - and this explains the long queue of big, established players beating a path across the muddy fields of Norfolk to make sure that this invaluable asset doesn't slip once more from their grasp. It's the same every time this company comes up for grabs: one can't move for suitors.

11 May 2012

Lets be clear, DRB Hicom doesnt gain a lot by retaining Lotus.

First of all their primary business is assembling and selling cars, trucks, defence vehicles and two wheelers for Honda, Suzuki, Mercedes, VW, Tata, Isuzu, Yamaha etc..etc... They do not really need to spend money in R&D.

They now own Proton which now gives them underutilised manufacturing facilities for their existing operations. Also with the large number of tie ups DRB Hicom will simply realise that its far easier and profitable to rebadge models from various car makers in the future rather than spend millions developing all new Proton cars.

And even if DRB Hicom needed to retain Lotus engineering it does not give them any real reason to sink a lot of money into the car division. The engineering division can easily stand on its own!!

11 May 2012

The vast amount of money needed to invest in the new model line up (with no guarantee of success as the end of the investment period) means that the car side is pretty much worthless. The consultancy business is probably worth very little, but could be spun out or MBO'd, presumably there aren't any published accounts for either side of the business as they are/were a subsidiary.

12 May 2012

[quote coolboy]

'cos they will end up in bankrupcy, no one dares to buy insolvent entities, ask SAAB.

Lots Of Troubles Usually Serious

[/quote]

I can't remember exactly how many miles I did in my Elan SE but it was over 100K and although bits fell of my Elise it never actually broke down.

Hardly "Lots of trouble usually serious" but why let truth get in the way of a nice bit of sweeping generalisation.

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