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Wednesday 11th April 2012

Is Lotus in proper bother this time?

ANOTHER UPDATE: 'Never let the facts get in the way of a good story' says Lotus, with help from Sniff Petrol



Lotus fights back! In a somewhat surprising move Lotus has used the Sniff Petrol Bahar Mickey take as a springboard for a surprisingly punchy fightback response. Click on the thumbnails to enlarge!






Since we posted this story Lotus has released the following statement:

“The new Proton owners DRB-HICOM are currently in the middle of their due diligence of Group Lotus. There have been and continue to be positive discussions between Group Lotus senior management and senior management at DRB-HICOM both here in Hethel and in Malaysia. Despite various rumours in the media to the contrary, at no point has DRB-HICOM indicated to Group Lotus that they intend to put the company into administration and we welcome the opportunity to put that rumour along with incorrect speculation that production has stopped , that Dany Bahar is no longer CEO and that we are no longer involved in F1 to bed.

“It’s no secret that we are going through a very difficult time at the moment due to the change in ownership but we’re doing everything we can to get through this period and come out the other side stronger than before. We’re very grateful for the continued support we receive from the people of Norfolk and all over the world.”

The original story can be seen below.


Lotus's ambitious 'five-year plan' for a massive - and expensive - product revival to turn it into a profitable concern is looking shakier than ever. There are even whispers that the company could be put into administration in order to alleviate its £200 million debts.

Rumours really started to swirl around last week, when the Lotus F1 team ended a title sponsorship deal with Group Lotus, prompting suggestions that the F1 team's owner, Genii Capital, might be interested in buying out the Norfolk sports car maker. For its part Group Lotus says that the relationship with Lotus F1 is now as 'brand partners' and the mutual benefit derived carries no financial cost to either party.


But that's not all. According to an article by Autocar's Steve Cropley, DRB-Hicom, the new owners of Lotus parent company Proton, aren't convinced of the value of the Brit sports car maker and so could be looking to offload or dissolve the brand.

Were it to be offloaded, one of the leading suitors could well be China Youngman - a company that's already tried to bid for Saab, and that has been Lotus's importer in China for more than half a decade.

But how true is all this? As Autocar points out, Lotus has failed to deny the rumours of its problems, the 60-day period where Malaysian law demanded that Lotus's flow of cash was interrupted as Proton changed ownership is well and truly over, and Lotus CEO Dany Bahar is 'on leave' this week. The official line from Hethel would be that they are awaiting news themselves, hence the lack of any comment.

Make of those facts what you will, but it does make Sniff Petrol's recent Bahar picture parody seem all the more realistic...

Riggers
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Author Discussion

alexpa

Original Poster:

570 posts

60 months

[news] 
Wednesday 11th April 2012 quote quote all
Honda! Please buy Lotus!

HorneyMX5

1,964 posts

38 months

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Wednesday 11th April 2012 quote quote all
How deep are JLR's pockets? Ciould be a good fit with their premium british cars brands.

nick

MonkeyMatt

5,355 posts

95 months

[news] 
Wednesday 11th April 2012 quote quote all
I think this time next year Lotus will either be dead or Chinese. Either way they look stuffed! How much have Caterham got in the bank scratchchin

marshalla

11,056 posts

89 months

[news] 
Wednesday 11th April 2012 quote quote all
alexpa said:
HondaToyota! Please buy Lotus!
Fixed that for you.

hairykrishna

9,828 posts

91 months

[news] 
Wednesday 11th April 2012 quote quote all
alexpa said:
Honda! Please buy Lotus!
Honda buys Lotus, sacks everyone responsible for their current marketing and 'direction', commissions them to build new super lightweight NSX. It'd be a match made in heaven.
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forzaminardi

1,287 posts

75 months

[news] 
Wednesday 11th April 2012 quote quote all
Worth pointing out that China Youngman's Lotuses as sold in China are simply rebadged Protons...

Al 450

1,371 posts

109 months

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Wednesday 11th April 2012 quote quote all
The Chinese won't buy anyone out. They'll wait until the company is in administration and then buy the assets.

Fire99

8,712 posts

117 months

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Wednesday 11th April 2012 quote quote all
I have little against some of the Chinese car manufacturers for what they do but Lotus needs a bit of care. It would be sacrilege if Lotus were to become pure 'badge engineering' (Like MG in some ways)

It needs careful stewardship and IMO a few steps backwards and a more stable and less ambitious approach.

BarnatosGhost

8,264 posts

141 months

[news] 
Wednesday 11th April 2012 quote quote all
forzaminardi said:
Worth pointing out that China Youngman's Lotuses as sold in China are simply rebadged Protons...
Do you mean they put a Proton badge on a Lotus, or a Lotus badge on a Proton?

FWDRacer

3,297 posts

112 months

[news] 
Wednesday 11th April 2012 quote quote all
HorneyMX5 said:
How deep are JLR's pockets? Ciould be a good fit with their premium british cars brands.

nick
Pole. Barge. A. Not. Would. Touch. With.

MX7

7,902 posts

62 months

[news] 
Wednesday 11th April 2012 quote quote all
This can't be right. Lotus were going to create 1,000 jobs after their £10m+ grant.

Fire99

8,712 posts

117 months

[news] 
Wednesday 11th April 2012 quote quote all
FWDRacer said:
HorneyMX5 said:
How deep are JLR's pockets? Ciould be a good fit with their premium british cars brands.

nick
Pole. Barge. A. Not. Would. Touch. With.
yes JLR have managed to put together a pretty successful business model, with some tidy profits. Lotus still needs to lose money before it makes money. That won't be their bag. (Well as far as my crystal ball can tell, anyway! biggrin )

Mr Gear

9,155 posts

78 months

[news] 
Wednesday 11th April 2012 quote quote all
What a depressing fk-up.

Anyone on here could have predicted their ambitious plans would go this way.

snotrag

10,761 posts

99 months

[news] 
Wednesday 11th April 2012 quote quote all
Its hardly surprising is it.

All the 'bling' weve had over the past few months, shiny motorshow cars, rappers, music videos..

It really was all just bling - covering up the fact that company has is in deep doo-doo.

What they need is someone who actually knows a bit about running a car company to buy them - strip all the crap out, get rid of the rubbish, tone it down, slow down, and develop ONE, good, well engineered, well priced car. Then start actually selling some.

By far the best way to do this IMO is for input from China/India etc...



Superhoop

3,286 posts

81 months

[news] 
Wednesday 11th April 2012 quote quote all
Hasn't Tony Fernandes (who owns Caterham cars and the mighty QPR) just invested in a new R&D centre not far from Hethel?

St John Smythe

4,698 posts

105 months

[news] 
Wednesday 11th April 2012 quote quote all
snotrag said:
Its hardly surprising is it.

All the 'bling' weve had over the past few months, shiny motorshow cars, rappers, music videos..

It really was all just bling - covering up the fact that company has is in deep doo-doo.

What they need is someone who actually knows a bit about running a car company to buy them - strip all the crap out, get rid of the rubbish, tone it down, slow down, and develop ONE, good, well engineered, well priced car. Then start actually selling some.

By far the best way to do this IMO is for input from China/India etc...
That one car should be the Esprit.

vxsmithers

462 posts

88 months

[news] 
Wednesday 11th April 2012 quote quote all
snotrag said:
Its hardly surprising is it.

All the 'bling' weve had over the past few months, shiny motorshow cars, rappers, music videos..

It really was all just bling - covering up the fact that company has is in deep doo-doo.

What they need is someone who actually knows a bit about running a car company to buy them - strip all the crap out, get rid of the rubbish, tone it down, slow down, and develop ONE, good, well engineered, well priced car. Then start actually selling some.

By far the best way to do this IMO is for input from China/India etc...
Hmm, like Vauxhall....


tongue out

Japveesix

2,395 posts

56 months

[news] 
Wednesday 11th April 2012 quote quote all
It doesn't help that their proposed new range of 4 or 5 cars to fit all areas of the market all look almost exactely the same....


Hardly innovative design there frown

Ex Boy Racer

561 posts

80 months

[news] 
Wednesday 11th April 2012 quote quote all
Terribly tragic news, but to be honest it was always going to happen. You simply can't build a house on bullst; sooner or later it will start to topple.
But on the bright side, Lotus still are there, they still have their engineering expertise and they still make fine (though in dire need of an update) cars. They have a future if common sense returns and somebody who understands what Lotus stands for, and what its strengths are, takes over.

Herman Toothrot

5,792 posts

86 months

[news] 
Wednesday 11th April 2012 quote quote all
This was all quite universally predicted by the PH massive when the Ferrari bod started changing things, if only he'd paid attention.
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