Who Wants Lotus?

Industry News / 102 Comments

The iconic British brand is once again on the block. Bidders wanted.

Lotus's future is once again hanging in the balance after its parent company, Proton Holding was sold just last week. The seller was the Khazanah Nasional, the Malaysian government's investment arm. The buyer, who paid $414 million, was DRB-Hicom, which is owned by a Malaysian billionaire named Syed Mokhtar Al-Bulkhary. Rumors about the possible sale of Proton and consequently the selloff of Lotus had been making the news for the last 10 days. And now it has finally happened.

Lotus is currently in the advanced development stages of a series of new five models aimed at the most prestigious sports cars brands: Ferrari, Porsche and Aston Martin, with cars prices starting at $55,000 up to $190,000. The models were introduced almost 18 months ago at the 2010 Paris Motor Show and the reborn Esprit should be in the showrooms by 2013. The entire overhaul is being led by Lotus CEO Dany Bahar, formerly of Ferrari, who managed to lure in some of the most prominent European car designers and engineers.

The historic automaker's rebirth must be a success because last year, for example, Lotus only sold less than 2,000 cars, all of which were manufactured at its historic factory at Hethel, Norfolk, UK. In the past, Bahar said that Lotus secured $1.2 billion for development from its shareholders. Since Bahar became CEO, his company has become more involved in Formula 1 and Indy car racing in efforts to further promote the brand. However, with a new owner whose intentions are still unknown, the beloved automaker's future is once again uncertain.

John Lamm

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