Statement from British court says that Group Lotus has fallen into serious debt and could be forced to liquidate.
Lotus has been in financial trouble for some time. The British automaker and engineering consultancy founded by Colin Chapman has, in the past few decades, bounced from GM ownership to Romano Artioli's Bugatti, then to Malaysian carmaker Proton before being bought by DRB-Hicom. That Malaysian company started off by firing Lotus' chief executive and stripping its R&D budget to next to nothing. Now word has it that Group Lotus could be liquidated by the British courts.
The report comes from Autocar, which cites an announcement from the HM Courts & Tribunals Service – part of the UK's judiciary system – which states that it has received an application to liquidate the assets of the entire Group Lotus, apparently due to unpaid taxes. The umbrella company includes Lotus Cars, Lotus Motorsport and Lotus Engineering. The Formula 1 team that runs under the Lotus name, however (and which just won the opening grand prix of the season) would apparently remain unaffected as it is owned separately and licenses the name from Group Lotus.
Just what this all means for the immediate future of the company that builds the Evora, Elise and Exige remains to be seen, but it can't be good. DRB-Hicom could be forced to swoop in and pay its asset's outstanding bills. We wouldn't be too surprised, though, to see another company swoop in and scoop up its assets – and hopefully keep it going, if not returning it to profitability.