Lotus CEO Dany Bahar and Toyota president Akio Toyoda

There's no question that Lotus needs to sell more cars if it is to survive in an industry rapidly centralizing into major groups. But when CEO Dany Bahar talks about looking for new buyers, he's not talking about selling cars. He's talking about selling the company itself.

Of course, Lotus is not Bahar's to sell, strictly speaking. The company belongs to Proton. But the Malaysian state automaker may not have the necessary resources to provide Lotus with the synergies and shared development which Bahar identifies as crucial to Lotus' future success.

A new report from Inside Line quotes Bahar as saying that Lotus may need to partner with a larger automaker in order to develop into a serious player in the sportscar business. All eyes are on Toyota, the Japanese automaker whose engines and other components Lotus currently uses.

The partnership could emerge as something akin to what Aston Martin is fostering with Daimler – that is to say, some sort of an alliance that does not involve selling the company – or could result in the brand being sold, lock stock and barrel, to the auto giant. One way or another, Lotus probably can't go it alone.


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  • 23 Comments
      Jeff
      • 3 Years Ago
      Would love to see Honda partner up with Lotus. Would show they still have some mojo left.
      vlspower
      • 3 Years Ago
      Tony Ferndandes should buy it. Oh wait...we'd all die of Irony if that happened.
      kevsflanagan
      • 3 Years Ago
      If this could somehow foster a resurection of the MR2 then I'm all for it. That and with Toyota's partnership with Tesla we could also see a pure EV version of it to. MR2E or whatever they wish to call it. Plus this might help Toyota produce more "Sporty" offerings that all of us wish they would do.
      • 3 Years Ago
      [blocked]
        JL
        • 3 Years Ago
        Roped off for the "pretty people?" Uh...no..they were roped off so the number of people at any given time was limited. If you would have stood in the rather short line, then you could have got up close to them. Maybe that's not how other vendors did it, but you can't say that no other company had their cars roped off (i.e Aston Martin, Rolls Royce, Morgan, most of the tuning houses, etc).
      • 3 Years Ago
      [blocked]
      Mike K
      • 3 Years Ago
      Not surprising. Maybe then can get their hands on something other than a Toyota Camry engine for their cars...
      carfan
      • 3 Years Ago
      just PLEASE don't tell me Lotus is considering selling to these morons from japan....I want to keep the LOTUS European!!!!. This can not happen!
        dougs2k
        • 3 Years Ago
        @carfan
        Yea, because all those Elise running around with Toyota motors is pure European.. who's the moron now?
        Mbukukanyau
        • 3 Years Ago
        @carfan
        Its Malaysian at this point. Last I checked, that is far from Europe
        David
        • 3 Years Ago
        @carfan
        So being Malaysian is fine but Japan is a no go? We wouldn't have Lotus here without Proton.
        MKIV
        • 3 Years Ago
        @carfan
        Well if you want to keep it European, why don't you put in a bid for it? Oh wait...... I think it is a great idea to use each others strengths into developing a nice light weight sports car. Toyota has the resources and Lotus knows how to make little pocket rockets.
        Shawn Chatman
        • 3 Years Ago
        @carfan
        Lotus has been owned by a Malaysian company for year for 15 years.
      davestsi
      • 3 Years Ago
      I'd love to see Mazda and Lotus work together and share development and resources. Imagine a 16X Powered Elise or a Mazdaspeed 3 with a Lotus designed suspension!
        Compliance
        • 3 Years Ago
        @davestsi
        Mazda was the first in my mind as well. They have similar philosophy regarding lightness of sportscars. Mazda also already makes a car that is similar enough in its mission that meaningful platform sharing wouldn't be as much of a stretch as other automakers, the Miata. I really don't think they are big enough to support Lotus though.
      Temple
      • 3 Years Ago
      It would make sense if Toyota increased their stake in both Tesla and Lotus, as the Tesla Roadster is based on the Lotus chassis, and Lotus had lots of talent making low-weight aluminum chassis. Toyota also seems to be developing a aluminum-carbon fiber technology shown in their LF-A. Either way, Lotus should get their hands on that V10 engine in the LF-A, high-revs, great power, sounds great, and most importantly it weighs less than a Toyota V6 in the Evora.
      2 Wheeled Menace
      • 3 Years Ago
      Oh no, not again :( ...... If they are bought by any major automaker.. they are doomed. This makes me sad. Cars of this caliber are an endangered species.
      _M7_
      • 3 Years Ago
      PFFF Toyota...I had respect in the 80 for it but now......... :/.......I hope Honda or Nissan can see it :) OR EVEN Tata they are doing a great job whit Jaguar
      simianspeedster
      • 3 Years Ago
      This is not a good sign. Lotus has publicized a huge backlog of ambitious plans for the next 5+ years, but it's not clear that they can make any of it happen. The Elise, while a fun track day car, has gotten old and I get the sense that the Evora is not selling well. I'll say it: I don't think the Lotus name has the brand equity needed to sell cars over $60K anymore. Many of Lotus' future plans called for cars that will sell near or over $100K but I don't think there are enough buyers willing to NOT buy a Ferrari, Lambo or Porsche in favor of a $100K+ Lotus. Lotus' last iconic car was the Esprit and it hasn't been produced in 20 years or so. Also, I don't think the Toyota connection is helping the Lotus brand engine even if it makes financial sense to share engineering. Even if the Toyota engine Lotus stuffed into the Evora was modified, it was a bad tactic to sell that car with almost the exact same power figures that the stock Toyota engine makes in a Camry or Highlander. I hope Lotus pulls it together, but in this economy, even the strongest sports car companies are fighting to keep in the game and it sure doesn;t look like Lotus has the resources to stay in the fight.
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