Lotus has been in limbo in recent years. After former CEO Dany Bahar revealed his plans to build six new models, its parent company was sold, Bahar was sacked, his plans were canceled and a new CEO was hired in the form of former Peugeot chief Jean-Marc Gales. The industry has been waiting ever since to find out what Gales would do with the storied marque, and now we seem to have some indication.
Five years after it began, it appears the Dany Bahar tenure at Lotus is finally over. After former Lotus owner Proton brought in the ex-Ferrari and Red Bull marketing savant to run the company in 2009, everything had gone pear-shaped by 2012: Proton had been sold to Malaysian auto supplier DRB-Hicom, who suspended Bahar and then fired him for what it said were expense-account transgressions (although Bob Lutz reportedly said something different).
It's been about two years since DRB-Hicom took over Proton, and through it Lotus. One of its first courses of action was to fire the existing CEO, Dany Bahar, and proceed to scrap most if not all of his (arguably over-) ambitious plans. In his place they put one of their own – Aslam Farikullah – as Chief Operation Officer, but now the Malaysian-owned British automaker has attracted an industry heavyweight to lead it into the future.
Troubled British automaker Lotus is getting a second infusion of cash following a 100-million-pound ($161.5-million) investment by its parent company DRB-Hicom that was made in August. The substantially smaller investment, a mere 10 million pounds ($16.2 million), comes from the British government's Regional Growth Fund.
Lotus is getting a shot in the arm courtesy of corporate parent DRB-Hicom, which has announced a 100-million pound ($152.3M USD at today's rates) investment in the Hethel, UK-based manufacturer. The troubled brand was also in the news last week, with DRB announcing a new, three-year plan that would see variants of existing models introduced.
It took 1.5 years, but a DRB-Hicom managing director told Malaysia's Business Times that the company has "cleaned up" the situation at Lotus from its finances to its marketing and image. The clean-up job we're most interested in, the product portfolio, will be demonstrated by financial investment in a three-year program of "variants based on existing products - variants with improved technology, improved performance."
More details have come out about the legal suit and countersuit being contested between Lotus cars owner DRB-Hicom and former CEO of Lotus Dany Bahar. Bahar was brought in by Malaysian car company Proton in 2009 to turn Lotus around, and events during his tenure have made just about everyone wonder "What's going on?" That's not unusual – it can take a minute to figure things out when a new leader takes everything in a new direction – but in this case the clouds didn't clear quickly e
Brief and disappointing is this report from Autocar on the status of the Lotus Esprit: it is finally ready and sitting at the light, but the light might not go green for a long time. The good news is that from being a concept two years ago at the Paris Motor Show, the aluminum and carbon fiber revival coupe is "purportedly almost finished." It is powered by a twin-turbo, 5.0-liter V8 with something like 650 horsepower, boosted by a kinetic energy recovery system (KERS) and shifting through a sev
Honda and Malaysia's Proton have signed an agreement to work together, but before we go and start dreaming about a Lotus-derived Honda S2000 successor, Automotive News Europe breaks down what the deal could mean for both automakers. Proton (parent company of Lotus) has been trying to build a relationship with bigger automakers (including Volkswagen) since being acquired by DRB-Hicom back in January, but this agreement with Honda could be a great opportunity for the rebuilding automaker to grow.
Two years ago, we were gobsmacked when humble Lotus shocked the automotive world by wheeling out no fewer than five new models – admittedly in various stages of development – at the 2010 Paris Motor Show. The ambitious onslaught of new sheetmetal came at the behest of then-CEO Danny Bahar who aimed to broaden the British marque's appeal by dramatically expanding its portfolio. Bahar was later thrown out by new Malaysian owners DRB-Hicom in a management shakeup that seems to still be,
The friction between Volkswagen and Proton continues, but this time it's coming from Germany, not Malaysia. The two firms have talked about some sort of partnership, or VW buying Proton outright, intermittently going back to 2005. In 2007 a partnership was nixed after a year of talks, then in 2010 after more talks a partnership was nixed again. The landscape has changed since then, with Malaysian firm DRB-Hicom taking control Proton and buying out the Malaysian government's stake. Volkswagen is
Let's say you're an automaker bent on world domination looking to grow your sales. That's going to have you looking at Asian markets, because that's where some of the biggest growth has been, and that's exactly what Volkswagen is doing as it considers making another run at Malaysia's Proton.
The plan put forth by former Lotus CEO Dany Bahar was to explode the British brand into the high-dollar sports car segment and directly challenge its marquee names. The first explosion came with the surprise introduction of five concepts at the 2010 Paris Motor Show. What has continued to surprise, though, is that the explosions haven't stopped: parent company Proton has had troubles leading to a reworking of its Formula One involvement, its IndyCar effort has had a rough ride, Proton's sale to
Lotus and parent company DRB-Hicom haven't offered much commentary on the suspension and eventual firing of former CEO Dany Bahar. European newspapers and websites, on the other hand, have been having a field day reporting on various financial missteps rumored to have taken place with Bahar at the helm.
DRB-Hicom has suspended Lotus CEO Dany Bahar pending an investigation into the executive's conduct. While the sports car manufacturer's parent company has declined to comment on exactly which facet of Bahar's conduct is in question, The Telegraph reports the inquiry may be related to expenses. DRB-Hicom is said to have confiscated Bahar's laptop and mobile phone as part of the investigation. Reportedly, the executive rented in two homes in Norwich, both paid for by Lotus.
"The past four months have been really tough for us," admits Lotus CEO Dany Bahar to Autocar magazine. "We were working at a pace nobody had seen at Lotus for many years," Bahar continued, alluding to the British sports car maker's planned rollout of four models over five years that recently had recently hit the skids thanks to a 60-day financial freeze at Malaysian parent DRB-Hicom. "The shut-down, as I call it," Bahar continued, "was very hard for us," but the Lotus boss forcefully rejects med
Lotus has put a halt to all development of future models. The news comes after the Malaysian government sold its controlling stake in Lotus parent company Proton. According to EVO, the company's takeover regulations require all involved parties to enter into a "lockdown" wherein anything outside of normal business is brought to a halt. For Lotus, that means stalling development for 60 days and pushing back launch dates for vehicles like the Exige S, Evora GTE and the upcoming Esprit successor. L
Reports this week out of London indicate that Lotus CEO Dany Bahar seeks a partner, or even a purchaser, for the Hethel firm. Malaysian automaker Proton currently owns Lotus, but Proton was taken over in January when Malaysian auto parts supplier DRB-Hicom bought the government's controlling interest. The trend with new ownership is to put every project on the table for review, and with Lotus in the midst of massive initiatives – Esprit, Elan, Eterne, new Elise and in-house V8 – it m