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The AutoGuide News Blog is your source for breaking stories from the auto industry. Delivering news immediately, the AutoGuide Blog is constantly updated with the latest information, photos and video from manufacturers, auto shows, the aftermarket and professional racing.
 |  Mar 13 2012, 11:45 AM


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


[Source: Evo]

 |  Apr 12 2011, 2:22 PM

Labeled as perhaps the worst natural disaster to ever hit a nation, the earthquake and tsunami that devastated the nation of Japan last month, is still causing an effect on its people and industry.

Many car companies have suffered and Toyota, the largest car company in Japan is no exception. Their production delays will have an effect on Toyota dealers in America.

In a letter sent to Toyota dealers on April 10, 2011. Toyota U.S.A. Division General Manager Bob Carter said, “Today we have good levels of inventory, but inventory will be getting tighter. What we don’t know are vehicle production levels for May through July. The potential exists that supply of new vehicles could be significantly impacted this summer.”

Currently, over 300,000 new Toyota’s are in stock, and the spare parts supply business is so far not effected. Production at Toyota’s North American plants is now running at three-days a week, and the Japanese production facilities are running at 50% of their normal capacity.

Shipping has been affected also, with Toyota to ship vehicles from Japan once every two weeks, with stops at six or more ports on each voyage, said Carter.

[Source: Automotive News]

 |  Mar 30 2011, 11:51 AM

Due to continuing parts supply problems from Japan, in the wake of the Earthquake and Tsunami; Honda has announced that it is cutting back production of vehicles in North America.

Honda, whose Tochigi operations were badly hampered by the quake; has said that while some of its part suppliers are now up and running again; others have still to resume operations.

As result of ongoing supply chain issues, the company announced to US and Canadian Employees on March 30th, that it would be reducing production output at North American plants. A source said that the Alliston, plant in Ontario, Canada, would cut production from approximately 700 vehicles per day to 400; numbers for other facilities weren’t available at post time.

Honda has said that it is doing everything it can to keep plants operational without extensive interruptions and is working toward resuming full production capacity.

[Source: Honda News]

 |  Mar 24 2011, 10:46 AM

Given the aftermath of the horrendous earthquake and Tsunami in Japan, the Japanese economy, not surprisingly has been struggling to stay on track.

For Japanese automakers, the situation has proved particularly problematic, even for their overseas operations as ongoing problems at home affect the global supply chain. Toyota has warned that production of vehicles in the US and Canada could be affected because  supplies of some parts from Japan are running low.

In fact, the company issued an internal memo to employees declaring “our supply line has reached a point where it is clear we will incur some non-production time.” Though the actual amount of this ‘non-production’ time still remains uncertain.

Having said that, the company is also assuring both its North American employees and retailers that it had reopened parts facilities in Japan and was doing everything it could to make sure vehicles were available to customers.

[Source: Automotive News]