Following the acquisition of Proton by private investors, all development projects have been frozen.
Lotus has a 50:50 chance of survival under its new ownership, claims Dany Bahar, the company's CEO. Last month, the Malaysian Government sold Proton (Lotus' parent company) to local private investors who are doing their due diligence to the company. Talking to Evo.co.uk, Bahar said that he was taken aback when the deal was announced. According to regulations in Malaysia following the sale, the company went into a 3 month 'lockdown' period.
During this period, all activities (and some production) in the company is stopped or temporarily halted. Therefore Lotus' development plans for five new models that were unveiled at the Paris Motor Show 18 months ago have now been suspended. The delays in development will cause the cars' respective launches to be delayed as well. Bahar is not sure whether the new owners will be interested in retaining Lotus. He says he flies every week to Malaysia to talk to the new investors and to persuade them to keep on the project.
"This difficult period for Lotus finishes at the end of March and that's when we will know then whether DRB-Hicom will want to continue with our business plan," Bahar said. "I really hope they will but I cannot call it at the moment, it's still 50:50." The decision on Lotus' future will also have impact on the Lotus F1 team, who is sponsored by Lotus and the opening of a new Lotus store at Regent St., Central London.