Home / Auto News / News article: New Lotus Models In Jeopardy as Development Halted - AutoGuide.com News
 |  Mar 13 2012, 11:45 AM

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It’s hard out there for a sports car manufacturer, especially if it is owned by a larger company.

Lotus has been owned by the Malaysian car company Proton since 1995, when the company was bought from the then bankrupting Bugatti (which itself got eventually bought out by VW).

Over the last 17-years, Lotus has not made a profit for its parent company. That was not such a big deal since Lotus was seen as more of a high-class brand name for the Malaysian state-owned Proton. However, just earlier this year, Proton sold its 42.7% stake in Lotus to DRB-Hicom, one of the largest private companies in Malaysia. Generally, private companies are much more concerned with making a profit rather than owning a company just for its prestige.

Now word comes from Lotus CEO Dany Bahar, that the future of Lotus’ production is in jeopardy, as development for new models like the updated Esprit have been suspended. In fact, Bahar was “completely taken aback” when he learned at the Geneva Auto Show, that the entire Proton group would enter a three-month “lockdown.”

That means, only normal trading activities would be allowed, hence all future developments have been suspended. This lockdown will even effect its recently announced models like the Exige S and the Evora GTE. The new Esprit will now likely be pushed to a 2014 launch, which means the concept would be nearly five-years old when it hits the road.

That is, if DRB-Hicom even decides to keep Lotus. Rumors suggest that they will want to off-load the unprofitable Lotus brand, which means Bahar has to find a savior for Lotus very quickly.

For now, Lotus’ motor sport activities, the opening of their new showroom on Regent Street in London, and its participation at this years Goodwood Festival of Speed as the featured marque will continue. Let’s hope Lotus can survive through its current dilemma.

GALLERY: Lotus Esprit

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[Source: Evo]

  • dl

    The root of all evil is money and I think taking the lotus name down is immoral, that’s sinful very sinful, you can see the line up is looking very agreeable and the cars need to make the USA in order to exploit the world market,
    The Elise or Exige cars should have made a larger impact in the USA market, it should still be there.
    Putting the car into the same arena with Porsche was a good market, but the execution of it was poor
    Example the Porsche dealer carrying the lotus name is bad very bad

    You have 35 solid years of successful income for the sells staff at most Porsche dealers, if you look at a lotus to buy, for get it. You have six sells people selling a Porsche over the lotus.
    Even if you walk to the lotus sells side, the lotus staff is not capable of selling the lotus correctly such as the Porsche sales representative is.

    1. Don’t market a lotus with a Porsche dealer

    2. Don’t take the low budget exotic car from the market

    3. Sell the car in county seat size dealers in each USA state
    ((That 5-6,000 cars a year sells)) building brand name and awareness.

    4. Sell the car at operational expense only ((brand the name)) you have six years of, what is that cool car.

    5. Every USA person thinks the Exige or Elise was a 100,000 plus car, which is just one more reason you could not sell 5-6,000 cars a year.

    6. Show the car at the county seat size towns with a trailer transporter and set up financing for the cars on the road, sell three to five cars at each county seat city location in the USA a week

    Could go on and on sorry so poorly written schedule busy