Lotus seeking buy-out

Lotus seeking buy-out
30 Jan, 2012 4:31pm

Lotus CEO Dany Bahar reportedly looking for partner to invest £500m in future Lotus models

Lotus CEO Dany Bahar is reportedly looking for a partner who can buy Lotus from parent company Proton. 

Proton itself has controlled Lotus since 1996, and was recently sold to Malaysian Conglomerate DRB-Hicom. Bahar’s decision to actively seek partners could be down to the fact that Proton’s new owner may not want to support Lotus, a company that hasn’t made a profit the entire time Proton has owned it. 

Bahar will be looking for around £500m to fund Lotus’s future model line-up, including new Elise, Elan, Esprit and Eterne cars. 

Reports suggest that Genii Capital – the current owner of the Lotus Formula One team – has shown an interest in buying the Lotus road-car business. More than one Chinese company has also been linked with an interest in buying Lotus. 

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How long would it take you to tear up £500m in £50 notes. Longer I suspect than it would take Lotus to lose the lot. The tearing up would be more fun as well.

I came to realise 2 years ago that Lotus was a no hoper, when I drove a new supercharged Elise from St Tropez to the Nurburgring. I could not believe how badly built it was, considering it cost about the same as a basic Boxster. It was incredibly noisy and not a nice noise either, it pulled to one side and there was a half inch gap between the top of the driver's window and the side bar of the roof. The gearing was wrong, the brakes were grabby and on the Ring, the handling was wobbly. Everyone who drove it commented that it was not a nice car for the Ring.


Wilson'c comment speaks volumes. As a British sports car brand with a lot of history I want to support it but the truth is that I find Lotus's designs highly unengaging, if not plain ugly. Marry that to poor build qulaity and it's not a recipe for success. Nonetheless I hope they do find an investor, but Lotus: you need new flair in your design team and by the sound of it new quality control measures too. This has long been the case, so why hasn't it been addressed? I always thought Lotus's plans for 6 new cars was absurd, just pie in the sky. It seems perhaps they were nothing more than window dummies intended to lure money to invest in the company. Thus far that ploy has clearly failed. Over to you Danny Bahar.
PS: is the only way British brands and expertise can be find investment and succeed to be sold to forien investors. See Jaguar. We have always had the designers and inventors in Britain but rarely had the financiers to take advantage of these assets. All the wealthy want to do here is make money from money, to take and not give. I've been saying this for a quarter of a century. Looking around, does anybody doubt this now?

I always thought Bahar's plans fanciful.

I'm sure Ron Dennis, the McLaren name and their proven engineering skills will eventually result in a sports car range to rival Ferrari

But Lotus ?

In the eyes of most potential buyers, Lotus means light weight, small, relatively inexpensive sports cars with dubious reliability.

That's not a good basis for taking on Ferrari and McLaren.

I hope Bahar doesn't raise the money. Proton can then sell the brand to Tony Fernandes and reunite the evergreen 7 with it's original badge. I'm sure that Tony would develop a new range of cars that would be much more in keeping with the brand - without the reliability issues !

If that happened Tony could rightly go back to naming his F1 team Team Lotus.

the problem with any company is to survive. it seems designers are running out of ideas what to do and some are having to revert to re-invent the old models as new models or like Merc and BMW come out with crazy odd looking cars. Lotus looks like a small volume manufacturer but cost mean that it needs to give a bigger offer of cars that show off the core of what owning a Lotus is about. Quality checks is a must. i think Lotus are going the right way about it but it all costs money at the end but i'm looking forward to it

I feel for the Lotus workers, but what do you expect since Mr Bahar and co got involved (not that Proton ever made best use of Lotus' expertise) and had the naive idea they could flog the same products for silly money just through marketing... Look at Caterham (cars and F1 team). They have a strategy, inspired and motivated people at the top who know what they are doing, and will have desirable products to sell for a realistic price. What Lotus (cars) need to do is concentrate at what they are good at, make one or two excellent cars and stop being greedy!!!

This is a desperate plea for help and with much sadness I feel it may fall on deaf ears. Lotus today are so far removed from the original concept conceived by Colin Chapman that it is almost laughable. They are trying to appeal to the wrong market in taking on such cars as the Porsche Boxster when they should be producing excellently engineered and affordable sports cars which offer fabulous driving dynamics and unfortunately 'affordable' is not how I would describe the current range.

It is tragic to hear that Wilson was left with such a negative impression of the Elise which is supposed to be Lotus' bread and butter model. I do take issue with the assertation that Lotus' are unreliable these days however. Since Lotus dropped the Rover K Series motor and began using powerplants sourced from Toyota, engine reliability has been excellent. The Evora is also an good car and is well placed to take advantage of the current desire by manufacturers to downsize performance engines with it's Toyota V6 motor. If Lotus had the funds to draw on, this engine could be developed to produce far more power than it does at present which would make it a much more desirable option in the market in which it is currently trying to compete. Even in its current form I would prefer an Evora S to a Porsche Cayman, which I think looks stylistically ungainly.

That only leaves the build quality issue which I accept is a problem. With further investment this could be overcome. Like HFEO2 I hope Tony Fernandes takes an interest in Lotus because he has the sort expertise and enthusiasm that would have impressed Chapman and I can't help feeling this is what Colin would want.