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.
File this one under "not surprising in the least." Fired Lotus CEO Dany Bahar is reportedly suing his former employers for some $10.6 million, claiming that the automaker and its Malaysian owner, DRB, broke the law when they dismissed him. According to a report by Bloomberg Businessweek, DRB and Lotus will defend themselves in court rather than settling, including filing a countersuit against the former top executive.
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
Lotus has been teasing a tuned-up Evora for a few months now, as rumors flew that the automaker was planning a hardcore version for the street. Finally, however, the rumors have all been confirmed as Lotus pulls back the wraps on the production Evora GTE Road Car. This is similar to the white and gray concept concept car we saw in Monterey, except the car now wears a matte yellow paint scheme, different wheels and a glossy carbon fiber lid.
If anyone knows about turning things around, it's Bob Lutz. After all, he was a naval aviator, and those guys can pull some serious G forces. He's also widely credited with keeping Chrysler alive for longer than it might have been otherwise. But what's he up to these days?
Stick with us here, because this is going to get a little complicated. We have on the one hand Lotus Cars and Group Lotus. On the other we have the current Lotus F1 team. The former – producers of such sportscars as the Elise and the new Elite – is owned by Malaysian state automaker Proton. The former is also Malaysian-owned, but by businessman Tony Fernandes (pictured above, owner also of Air Asia), and uses the name Lotus under license from Proton.
Well, we knew that Lotus personnel had been working with the folks from Tesla Motors on their sexy electric roadster, and today we received a bit of interesting related news. According to a report on EDP24.com (the Norfolk Eastern Daily Press website), Group Lotus' involvement with the Tesla Roadster project is now very much official: the Roadster will be built by Lotus at its Hethel facility.