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Lotus Esprit

Lotus hasn’t exactly had the best run in the past few months, so it’s not surprising that the company is canceling its plans for all future models, including the one model that was thought to be the sole survivor of Bahar’s plans: the long-rumored new generation Esprit .

The new Esprit was previewed by its concept version back at the 2010 Paris Auto Show, while the company was still in the hands of the controversial Dany Bahar. Now that Bahar is gone, and DRB-Hicom is running the show, most of Bahar’s concepts have been given the heave-ho. All that is supposedly left now is the Elise , Exige , and Evora . These models were originally on the list of axed models, but have since received a reprieve. At least for now.

The Evora is the only relatively new model in Lotus’ line-up, having just been launched in 2008. The Elise and Exige have been on the market ever since 1995. This means that Lotus’ new plans to drop the Esprit will begin the company’s new era with an old lineup. Hopefully, they have plans in place to change that.

Source: Lotus Forums

The Lotus Nemesis was able to shatter the U.K. land speed record for an electric vehicle in September 2012, but many people didn’t even know this vehicle existed. Did Lotus create an electric model while no one was looking?

No, the Nemesis isn’t an all-new electric vehicle built by Lotus in an attempt to rebuild its damaged image. The Nemesis is actually a one-off Lotus Elise converted to electric power by Ecotricity – a Great Britain-based renewable energy company.

Typically, when you think of the electric vehicle, you imagine the likes of the Nissan Leaf and Mitsubishi i-MiEV ; you think, a slow and ugly buggy that looks as if the manufacturer built it out of spite rather than to actually sell. Well, first we had Tesla eliminating the ugly and slow stereotypes rather effectively and now you have this Nemesis ripping that stereo type to shreds and stomping it into the ground.

Click past the just to read our full review on the Lotus Nemesis.

Renault Alpine A110-50 Concept

Okay, so as we all know, the automotive rumormill has a habit of bouncing back and forth before finally resting on the truth. Back in August, we heard a rumor that the Alpine would be built in a joint venture between Renault -Nissan and Caterham . Then just days later, we started exploring the possibility of the Alpine and Infiniti Emerg-E being a Renault-Nissan and Lotus project, given the Emerg-E was already built on the Lotus Evora platform and it would be simpler to build both the Emerg-e and Alpine on the same platform.

Well, it looks as if the Lotus and Nissan talk is done with, as Caterham appears to have swooped in and all but completed a deal with Renault Nissan. Sky News is reporting that Caterham boss, Tony Fernandes, is just about to put ink to paper on a $400 million production deal that will join Caterham Caterham and Renault Renault -Nissan at the hip on the Alpine project. The deal would involve a 50-50 split in cost and profits between Renault-Nissan and Caterham.

There is no mention as to whether this will also affect the Emerg-E’s production plans, but chances are that the Emerg-E will remain a Lotus and Renault-Nissan project, since both companies are already so deeply entrenched in the deal.

This also effectively eliminates the chances that the Emerg-E and Renault Alpine will share any significant DNA. It is very doubtful if Lotus would be willing to lend its platform to Caterham for a project that it back-doored from the already struggling sports car builder.

We’ll keep a close eye on this situation because it could boil over into something a little more, as the two rivals compete to snag up a little extra business. The deal is expected to be reviewed on Monday and approved in just a few weeks.

Source: Sky News

While the folks in France are checking out the new rides at the Paris Auto Show, in the UK, people are keeping themselves busy breaking records. A battery-powered Lotus Elise developed by utility company, Ecotricity, has reached an average speed of 151 mph near York today. Behind the wheel was 21-year-old Nick Ponting, who managed to smash the previous record of 137 mph set by a Bluebird Electric in 2000.

The Nemesis completed two runs along Elvington Airfield over a one mile distance, with Nick Ponting breaking the record on the first set of consecutive runs with an average speed of 148 mph. The electric supercar achieved this record with the use of two electric motors that develop a total of 330 HP. This setup also sprints it from 0 to 60 mph in 8.5 seconds.

Dale Vince OBE, founder of Ecotricity said: "This is brilliant. We built the Nemesis to smash the stereotype of electric cars as something Noddy would drive – slow, boring, not cool – and I think we’ve done exactly that today. Hopefully this will further stimulate debate about the future of transport in Britain and how we’ll be getting around when the world runs out of oil. What we’ve been able to demonstrate is that wind-powered cars are not just feasible, but can be a load of fun."

Rumors: Dany Bahar Suing Lotus

In the dust stirred up by Dany Bahar, we managed to miss the fact that DRB-Hicom also dismissed two senior executives from Lotus for “gross misconduct.” One was the 6-year head of legal resources and the other had 17 years in as the head of human resources. These employees are now taking Lotus to an employment tribunal saying that they were dismissed unfairly, were harassed, and had to endure sexual and racial discrimination by the new Lotus parent.

From the report, the two fired executives underwent “intense interrogation sessions” after DRB-Hicom took over and started investigating the actions of Bahar. They are also claiming that the management company is more interested in “Malaysianizing” the company rather than fixing it.

One lawsuit is a random happening, but to get three lawsuits for very similar cases seems like a trend to us. Maybe Bahar isn’t all wrong in this entire thing. The man is certainly at fault for using corporate money like it was his own personal Monopoly bank , but maybe his termination was a little bit less on the “up and up” as we anticipated.

All of this is coming straight on the heels of DRB-Hicom announcing that it is in talks to bring in a foreign partner to help clean up Proton Proton Holdings Bhd, which includes Lotus. We’ll keep an eye on this to see if it may negatively impact the talks that are going on between the Malaysian company and its potential foreign partner.

Source: PaulTan.org

It has been a little while since we last checked in on Lotus and its ongoing woes, but we have a small bit of news to pass on. There has been much speculation that DRB-Hicom has been considering offloading some or all of the Proton and Lotus money vacuum to the highest bidder. We all assumed it would be Volkswagen AG, but V-Dub has recently said that it is done with acquisitions, for now.

Reports out of Malaysia say that DRB-Hicom is now working on bringing in a “Foreign partner” to Proton Holdings Bhd, Lotus’s direct parent company. The reports are stating that the talks about this introduction are still in preliminary phases, but the announcement of talks alone is enough to tell us that DRB-Hicom is seriously looking into a way to stop the bleeding via an outside source.

With Volkswagen saying that it has stopped only acquisitions leads us to suspect that it has a small hand in these talks. Volkswagen and DRB-Hicom could easily enter into a nudge-wink type of relationship, much like the VW-Porsche takeover, and reap the benefits without much risk by simply becoming partners then later deciding to “restructure” the partnership.

This would ultimately give VW a clear port of entry into Southeast Asia – something it sorely needs – and give DRB-Hicom some much-needed financial relief and maybe a little boost in sales. Also, with Volkswagen’s reputation of turning around faltering car companies, a Volkswagen-DRB-Hicom-Proton Bdh partnership could ultimately save Lotus from potential extinction.

As we said, the discussions are preliminary and there is no confirmation that the talks even involve VW. It just seems like a perfect fit for every party involved. We’ll keep you updated on this as more information comes out.

Source: PaulTan.org
Could Volkswagen AG's Next Victim be Lotus?

There has been much speculation in the automotive world about VW looking into buying Proton from DRB-Hicom , and later came the announcement that VW’s labor group would not support additional acquisitions. It looks like - at least the smoke and mirrors make it look like - VW is done buying any more projects for the foreseeable future.

This all comes thanks to a report from Bloomberg, through Handelsblatt, that VW’s CEO, Marin Winterkorn, has said “We have enough to do at the moment in taking our twelve brands to where we want to be” in response to the company possibly buying Proton. He also said “We need to grow in Southeast Asia,” then followed that up with “but that does not mean that we will buy Malaysia’s Proton, like some are speculating.”

In the world of automobile acquisitions, you can always take a CEO’s words with a grain of salt, as they are saying what is true at any given second. At the drop of a hat, that truth can suddenly change, especially if DRB-Hicom decides to offer up Proton at a bargain price. Add in the fact that VW has been very shady with its business tactics lately – avoiding the tax man and sneaking Ducati under Lamborghini’s umbrella to help it meet mpg standards – and you can see why we don’t believe a word of what Winterkorn says.

VW will say what it needs to say in order to keep its labor group happy, but ultimately it is in the automobile manufacturing game to make money. If Proton and/or Lotus are seen as potential profit, VW will tell the labor group to suck it up, as they ink a deal for the Malaysian automotive group.

We’ll keep a close eye on this whole situation and see if VW stays true to it word or reverses ship if Proton falls in its lap.

Source: Bloomberg
Rumors: Dany Bahar Suing Lotus

After a healthy drought between Bahar-and-Lotus divorce articles, we have now started a new streak for this dysfunctional divorce. We recently learned that Lotus is auctioning off Bahar’s custom 2002 Lotus Esprit and it may be a fund-raising effort for their upcoming legal battle with its former CEO.

You guessed it. It is now official that Bahar has filed a high-court suit against Lotus for wrongful termination. The suit is reported to be worth ₤6.7 million and is against both Lotus and DRB-Hicom, with the former being the first defendant and the latter being the second in the case.

According to a report from DRB-Hicom, it opposed Bahar’s accusations and is prepared to defend them vigorously. In addition, DRB-Hicom has filed a counter-suit against Bahar, likely for misuse of corporate funds, as he was renting a house on Lotus’s dime, which isn’t a big deal, but dumped tons of money on having the rental property refurbished, using Lotus funds, allegedly.

In a statement, DRB-Hicom stated "The exact quantum of costs arising from the claim cannot be determined at this point in time... We will make the requisite announcements when appropriate." That sounds like corporate-ese for “we are trying to dig up every last penny that Bahar used without permission and add it up to really make him look bad.”

For now, this is all the news we have on this front, but we’ll keep you up to date on this lawsuit as it progresses.


It’s two days short of a month since we last mentioned Dany Bahar and Lotus in the same sentence , but we knew the silence couldn’t go on forever. While we await the outcome of the potential wrongful-termination lawsuit Bahar is allegedly planning, Lotus continues to rid itself of any signs of Bahar.

This de-Bahar-ing of Lotus began with the scrapping of all but one of his concept cars , much to the joy of Lotus purists, and has now moved into an almost personal attack. Lotus is now auctioning off Bahar’s company car, which so happens to be a fully restored and customized 2002 Esprit V8.

It features a custom pearlescent white paint job, Nova OZ wheels, center-exit exhaust, custom rounded taillights, and a Final Edition Esprit rear wing. The interior is bespoke too, featuring leather and SuedeTex throughout.

The front brakes feature 4-piston AP Racing calipers, while the rear brakes are Brembo-built. The engine and transmission were both rebuilt less than 1,000 miles ago, despite only having 36,000 miles on them to begin with. On top of the Sport350 “High Boost” ECM mod, we suspect that both the engine and transmission have some internal modifications, so it likely punches out much more than the 350 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque it did from the factory.

This entire restoration was commissioned by Bahar and carried out in a Lotus factory, likely on Lotus’ dime – surprise, surprise. Is it any wonder why the company is in such a financial hell right now?

Anyways, in an effort to raise a little capital, Lotus is now auctioning off this rig to the highest bidder via its UK dealerships. NADA lists a high-retail value of $60,300 on the 2002 Esprit, but we assume this one will fetch closer to the $80,000 range with all of its custom work.

We’ll keep you updated on the final auction results.

Could Volkswagen AG's Next Victim be Lotus?

There have been rumors circulating that Volkswagen AG is interested in Proton, which includes the Lotus debacle, as either minority owners or a controlling stake. But if VW’s labor union officials have any say, this will not take place. Bend Osterloh let the Handelsblatt know that the labor union will not support VW acquiring Proton, Lotus, or any other brand.

Osterloh was quoted saying “We already have 12 brands and we first have to stabilize the group.” Osterloh also agrees that VW needs to increase its presence in Southwest Asia, but the labor union still won’t support VW in this potential purchase.

Osterloh holds a seat on the supervisory board, so he has a little pull in the company, but not that much pull. VW is looking to overtake GM as the world’s largest auto manufacturer by 2018 and we doubt a puny labor union will stop VW. Even the taxman couldn’t put the brakes on VW’s expansion when it purchased, err, restructured Porsche.

We are pretty sure that VW will own at least a portion of Proton before the end of 2013, it just has to figure out how to let its labor union know that it can either come along for the ride or step aside. This should be a pretty interesting one, as we all know exactly how well auto unions and automakers play together, so we may be in for a pretty big power struggle.

Grab the popcorn... We’ll keep you updated.


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