Here today, gone tomorrow? Lotus has secured funding....for now.
Where we last left our beloved sports car company: the Malaysian government announced they intended to sell their stake in Proton, the parent company of Lotus, to the tune of $410 million to DRB-Hicom, a car distributor and importer. With the deal expected to be completed very soon, the new owners went about a full-scale evaluation of the British car company in an attempt to gauge whether their latest efforts to revive themselves could prove profitable in the near and long-term future.
When this was first announced, Lotus CEO Dany Bahar was confident that operations would continue as normal, pending any further changes. Due to Malaysian government rules, there was a 60-day financial freeze while the terms of the deal were being worked out. In other words, everything stopped at Lotus and the company was left in limbo waiting to hear what their new owners thought of their multi-model development plan. Fortunately, things appear to be up and running again, at least for now. According to a report coming from Autocar, Lotus has secured enough funding from DRB-Hicom to restore full production and to continue development of the 2013 Esprit.
That means the Hethel assembly line is now once again building some 44 cars a week, which include current models like the Elise, Exige, and Evora. Work will also continue on the Esprit's all-new V8 engine and transmission. This decision could mean a few things: 1). DRB-Hicom intends to stick with the plan mostly as is and not sell 2). Sell Lotus, but invest money in it first to make it more attractive to potential buyers, or 3). Something we haven't thought of. Bahar stated that "the last four months have been really tough for us. We were working at a pace nobody had seen at Lotus for many years, so the shutdown...was very hard for us.
It is still not good, but it is where we are. My job is to convince our shareholders - and critics - that we can build a successful business here. But I'm feeling a lot happier now than I was a month ago." The company's 60th anniversary is coming up and they're being honored at the Goodwood Festival of Speed in June as the "chosen" marque. Let's hope they'll truly having something more to celebrate in the coming months.