Lotus Suspends Development Of New Models Due To Pending Proton Sale

Derek Kreindler
by Derek Kreindler
lotus suspends development of new models due to pending proton sale

As one of the few people who doesn’t hate the direction Lotus is going in, the news that development of Lotus’ entire lineup has been suspended is disheartening. It seems that the Malaysian government is looking to unload their stake in Proton, parent company of Lotus.

Malaysian takeover laws stipulate a three month “lockdown” on any company that may change hands, ostensibly as part of a “due diligence” period. That means that car production can continue, but Lotus cannot do any real R&D work. CEO Dany Bahar is apparently flying to Kuala Lumpur once a week to keep Proton brass in the loop regarding their five year plan for the British sports car marque.

Bahar told Evo magazine

‘This difficult period for Lotus finishes at the end of March and that’s 
when we will know then whether DRB-Hicom [which owns 49.7 percent of Lotus -ED] will want to continue with our 
business plan,’ Bahar admits, ‘I really hope they will but I cannot call it at the moment, it’s still 50:50.’

While we’ll have to wait until the end of March to find out about DRB-Hicom, it will take even more time to see what happens with the sale of the government’s remaining stake in Proton. The launch of the Esprit will now be pushed back to 2013, while the Exige S and Evora GTE are delayed with no time table specified – Lotus already has 400 orders for the Exige S, and a setback like this is the last thing the company needs. Lotus will continue their motorsports and marketing efforts, with a new company store set to open in June on London’s Regent Street (Bahar, after all, helped Ferrari become the branding and marketing powerhouse it currently is under the tutelage of Luca di Montezemolo).

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  • Athos Nobile Athos Nobile on Mar 13, 2012

    Any word on the engineering arm of the firm?

    • Blowfish Blowfish on Mar 14, 2012

      the engineering div is separate? I take they're pretty advanced in designing /inventing. but comes to building cars i cant say a lot. sadly folks who pay big bucks expect a car to go fast and have all the accoutrements of a moving palace. or else they could buy a go kart or ariel atom kind of machine. If I'm going to sell my car, will i go buy 4 25" pirelli p0000 XXX rated to go in it?

  • Dgran Dgran on Mar 16, 2012

    I really want to see Lotus succeed. There should be enough room in the market for a minimalist car built for the corners. Their core line up (elise, exige, evora) are impractical in every sense but I think the engineering for light equipment advances the industry at-large.

  • Abrar Very easy and understanding explanation about brake paint
  • MaintenanceCosts We need cheaper batteries. This is a difficult proposition at $50k base/$60k as tested but would be pretty compelling at $40k base/$50k as tested.
  • Scott ?Wonder what Toyota will be using when they enter the market?
  • Fred The bigger issue is what happens to the other systems as demand dwindles? Will thet convert or will they just just shut down?
  • Roger hopkins Why do they all have to be 4 door??? Why not a "cab & a half" and a bit longer box. This is just another station wagon of the 21st century. Maybe they should put fake woodgrain on the side lol...