It was not announced at the time, but a report has surfaced that DRB-Hicom did receive an offer for faltering sports car company, Lotus. To buy a car company, even a money pit like Lotus, it takes millions of dollars, but the company that bid on Lotus didn’t offer anything near that. The bid was for all of ₤1. No, that’s not a typo... Just a single pound.
According to reports, DRB-Hicom, who inherited Lotus when it purchased Proton, will continue to attempt breathing life into the dying car company. The first necessary act of business, firing the cancer that is Dany Bahar, is already complete, so now it’s just a matter of getting the company back on track and making a few dollars here and there.
With Lotus pulling out of the 2012 Paris Motor Show, we have a feeling that a big-time change is afoot. With Bahar gone, DRB-Hicom can attempt to cut off the company’s plans to build supercars and revert back to the lightweight sports cars that made it famous in the first place.
We’ll see what DRB-Hicom has in store for Lotus in the coming years, but we certainly hope to see good things coming. The good thing is that DRB-Hicom can always hang its hat on the fact that someone is actually willing to pay for Lotus, even if it is just a single pound...
Despite the multitude of problemsLotus has been having recently, you have to give their racing division some credit for soldiering on with the continued expansion of their motor sports branch. Following in their involvement with Formula One, Indy Car, and Le Mans, among others, Lotus is venturing into new frontier with their entry into the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series.
The American racing series is organized by the same folks behind NASCAR and Lotus is coming in with the intention of being a contender right off the bat. They even have a car that’s primed and ready for action to any racing outfit looking for a ride: the Evora GX.
The Lotus Evora GX is a race-spec model of the sports coupe that has been customized specifically for the rigors of Grand-Am racing. Among the notable new features of the Evora GX include carbon fiber doors, a roof and engine cover, plexiglass windows, and tinted headlights. The car also comes with a new race-spec aero kit with new parts being fitted in including a new front splitter an bumper, a series-required rear wing, and a new set of wider wheels wrapped in Continental racing tires.
Meanwhile, the interior has been stripped of pretty much everything in favor of all the race-spec requirements, particularly the bucket seats, the roll bars, and the race steering wheel.
One other thing about the Evora GX is the noticeable absence of traction control and ABS, which makes racing in it all the more challenging for the driver. At the very least, though, these guys can rely on the car’s 440-horsepower 4.0-liter V6 engine and its Xtrac sequential transmission to make the drive that much more interesting.
Interested teams looking to use the Lotus Evora GX in their Grand-Am exploits will have to shell out $335,000 for one car.
To say that Lotus has had a very prosperous year is akin to saying that the economies in Spain and Greek are both doing fine.
It wasn’t that long ago when Lotus had ambitious plans to become a player in the supercar market, having unveiled a total of six new concepts that would inevitably give run to a fleet of production vehicles.
So it’s with a dash of irony that this year, Lotus has announced that they would be skipping the 2012 Paris Motor Show, only two years removed from bringing those six concepts at the 2010 Paris Motor Show.
From the optimism of those days, the company has been in dire straits recently, no more evident than the messy firing of former CEO Dany Bahar, who incidentally was the driving force behind the company’s ambitious plans two years ago. The company today is also in financial disarray; sales have been extremely low and there’s even word that the company will go back to its roots as a factory for lightweight sports cars.
Despite the messy year the company has had, there are still some signs of optimism, particularly with the increased interest in their two new vehicles, the Exige V6 S and V6 Roadster. Whether they can jump start the company’s fledgling business remains to be seen, but one thing we do know is that it won’t come at a fast enough time to save Lotus from heading to the same auto show were only two years ago, they set out on an ambitious plan that ended up with nothing more than lost promises.
Ladies and gentlemen, the wait is over! After months of speculation, Lotus has finally unveiled the new Exige S. This "ultimate lightweight high performance sportscar" comes bearing a new look inside and out, as well as a brand new engine that adds over 100 HP to the car’s output.
The look of the 2012 Lotus Exige S still claims it as an Exige, but the add-ons provided smooth out the sports car’s look, while still adding a certain degree of aggression to the design. The Exige S now carries a new front splitter that reveals a cleaner line across the front of the car and a smaller rear spoiler, both of which still improve the vehicle’s aerodynamics.
As for power, the Exige S is now working with a mid-mounted, transverse 3.5 liter DOHC V6 VVI-i engine that delivers a total of 345 HP, a far cry from the previously used 257 HP 1.8L Toyota supercharged I4. The reason for this massive upgrade is clear when the car’s weight gets introduced into the equation. The previous model claimed 2,077 lbs, while the new Exige S plumps up at 2,380 lbs. Once the added weight gets brought in, the Exige S’ 0-60 mph time is still better, coming in at 3.8 seconds (from a previous time of 4.0 seconds) and its top speed hikes up to 170 mph (up from a previous 145 mph).
Lotus will also be offering a Lotus DPM (Dynamic Performance Management) switch that allows the driver to switch between three driving modes: Touring, Sport, and DPM off. An optional Race Pack also gets thrown in to add a fourth driving mode (Race) to the mix, for the ultimate Lotus Exige S experience.
UPDATE 12/08/11: After having to yank the Exige and Elise from the US market due to airbag restrictions, Lotus is throwing the US market a bone by bringing the new Exige S over to our side of the pond as a track-only car. This race version will feature a full roll cage, racing seats and harness, and an electrical cut-off switch, in addition to all of the features found on the road car. Pricing will start between $85,000–$90,000. (duPont Registry)
UPDATE 07/13/2012: Lotus has unveiled three new videos for their brand new Exige S. In two of them, the car is being tested at the Nurburgring and at the Hethel Track at Lotus HQ, while the third video shows Donato Coco, Lotus Director of Design, as he explains the design and styling of the new Lotus Exige S, and Matt Becker, Chief Engineer of Vehicle Dynamics, as he talks through some of the fundamental changes that have been made to the Exige S.
Hit the jump to read more about the new Lotus Exige S.
Lotus hasn’t seen a great share of luck in recent years, but in the past few weeks, its luck has taken a slight turn for the better. First came INDYCAR’s approval of desired changes to its IRL engines. Now Lotus is now extending this run of decent luck a little more by announcing that its running prototype for the Evopra 414E hybrid is ahead of schedule and ready for dynamic testing.
Lotus first unveiled the prototype at Geneva in 2010, but it was just that, a prototype. It had no engine or motor driving it; it was essentially just a shell. No one in the automotive world expected anything from Lotus in the next year or so, as it seeks a new CEO, fights a rumored lawsuit from its former CEO, and attempts to right this sinking shop.
It looks like we were all wrong, as Lotus just sent out a press release detailing all of the Evora 414E’s main specifications. So, we did what we do best and used our speculative abilities to put together a review for you to use to make an educated shopping decision, if you are lucky enough to be in the market for this type of car.
The Lotus Elan was the true mother of all sports cars. You see, a true sports car does not require extreme power or a big engine with tons of cylinders pounding away – it doesn’t hurt though. A true sports car is about precision handling, peppy acceleration, and the ability for the driver to feel like he is in control of what’s going on.
The Elan is all of that wrapped up in a sexy looking, 2-seat roadster package. Well, this old girl recently had her 50th birthday and she is looking just as stunning as she did the day she rolled off of the production line back in 1962.
The Elan was a driver’s car and spawned many other spin-offs and reproductions, like the Alfa Romeo 124 Spider, BMW Z3/4, and most notably, the Mazda MX-5 Miata. The original Elan had a fairly successful run, lasting 13 years before getting the axe. In 1989, Lotus chose to resurrect the Elan, with the Elan M100. While the M100 was a mechanical success, it was not nearly as popular as the original rendition and it lasted just seven years.
In 2010, Lotus introduced us to a new version of the Elan that it anticipated seeing showrooms in 2013, but that release date was later adjusted to 2017. With the recent restructuring going on at Lotus, we anticipate seeing this date getting adjusted once again.
So, how can we give the Elan a special birthday this year? Well, by giving her a full historic review, of course.
Click past the jump to read our complete historical review on the 50-year-young Lotus Elan.
Recently, we haven’t had much good to say about Lotus and trust us, that is not by choice. We actually love Lotus and everything it once stood for in the performance car world. Unfortunately, it has undergone some serious changes and the CEO that it had decided to abandon what we all loved about Lotus.
In addition to the woes that Lotus underwent on the retail car front, it also underwent similar struggles on the racing front. Due to funding issues, its engines fell drastically behind the competition and its newly-signed-up partners all abandoned ship. It’s only two remaining partners ended up finishing dead last in May.
Part of the problem was that due to funding issues, Lotus entered its revised engine plans for approval by INDYCAR too late and it was stuck running its original engines. Well, it looks like the downpour of bad news is starting to dry up for Lotus, as Lotus’ INDYCAR manager, Oliver Picquenot, was quoted saying "Lotus has been working with outside engineering firms, in conjunction with Mr. John Judd and his enterprise.”
This obviously means that INDYCAR has finally given Lotus its much-needed permission to upgrade its engine via its engineering partner Engine Developments Ltd. This should give lotus the chance to at least close the INDYCAR-estimate 2.5 percent gap between its engines and everyone else’s, and Lotus is saying that it expects huge improvements.
So let’s hope for the best here and see if Lotus can make some money off of racing, or at least garner a little interest via finishing better than dead last to help calm its rocky seas.
Just an update, resigned Caterham Managing Director, Ansar Ali, is still a free agent and we already see a good fit between him and Lotus. So we’ll continue to monitor that situation, as well as Lotus’ INDYCAR improvements, as it tries to dig itself out of the hole a certain “someone” put them in…
There are two things that Caterham shares with Lotus. The first is that they both are U.K.-based companies and the second is that they both had Ansar Ali as an executive in the company. Short of that, the two companies have stark differences. The biggest difference being that Caterham stayed focused on its racecar-building division, then slowly started working itself toward street cars, thus keeping it profitable. Lotus, on the other end of the spectrum, has been trigger happy lately and has lost millions of dollars.
Well, the man given a lion’s share of the credit for Caterhams’s success, Ansar Ali, has stepped down from his post as Managing Director of the successful company. The resignation is certainly not forced, as Caterham chairman, Tony Fernandes, poured a heavy helping of praise over top of Ali as he departed and this can only point to the fact that Ali is leaving for another job, a la the former Audi CEO bolting for Infiniti.
On paper, the destination is obviously Lotus. Do the math, it is a struggling company, much like Caterham was prior to Ali taking the reins, it lacks a CEO since Dany Bahar’s termination, and there is already a history between Ali and Lotus. Add in the fact that Ali is already in the U.K., where Lotus is based, and you come up with a perfect match.
If Ali is heading to Lotus, don’t expect an immediate announcement, especially given the rumors of Bahar suing Lotus. Lotus would be wise to bring Ali on as a special consultant for a few months until the Bahar storm settles down.
We’ll keep an eye on where Ali lands and let you know as soon as we hear anything.
That’s right; according to a report from MSN U.K., the former head of Lotus has denied the allegations that he incorrectly used funds and is suing the British automaker. So not only did he collect £1.2 million ($1.48 million) per year as his company spiraled down the drain, but now he wants a little bit more money from Lotus, who needs to save every dime it can if it hopes to ever recover.
Here’s TopSpeed’s own solution to the problem. Hire the guy back, give him his old job, and have him sign a non-disclosure form that also waives his right to sue for the previous termination. Next, call him into a board meeting and fire him for the overall performance of Lotus in his three years as its head.
If I perform poorly at work and cost my company millions of dollars, I get fired. My boss wouldn’t have to dig up some weird financial slight on my behalf. Just call me into his office, tell me that I was not performing, and send me on my merry old way. That is it… Then again, maybe this whole investigation was to avoid having to pay a severance package to Bahar, which would likely be several million dollars, and that is the fuel powering this alleged lawsuit.
As expected, Lotus and Bahar are not available to confirm or deny whether this lawsuit is actually happening or not, which points to the likelihood that it is happening.
Well, you can just color us shocked, as Lotus chose to fire suspended CEO, Dany Bahar (it’s sarcasm, folks). We already anticipated new Lotus owner, DRB-Hicom to part ways with the unsuccessful and oft-newsworthy CEO from the beginning, but his “temporary suspension” pending an investigation sealed the deal. The word “suspension” in the corporate world is simply shorthand for “we are getting you out of the office so we can dig up some dirt to fire you before you get a chance to cover your tracks.”
To boot, the investigation that Bahar is under is pretty serious business, as he allegedly used Lotus’s money to fund renovations on his rental properties. After Lotus caught on and stopped the flow of money, the builders were stuck with a pretty hefty unpaid building bill. So that’s a double whammy for Mr. Bahar that just might land him in a court room.
We are sure this is far from the last thing we hear from Bahar, though we are certain he won’t find his way into the CEO role of another company. We’ll keep you updated on his potential legal issues as more information comes around. Until then, it looks as if he is just going to be joining former Mercedes-Benz CEO, Ernst Lieb, in the unemployment line.
Where’s Donald Trump with his famous “You’re Fired” line when you need him?
In all seriousness, we wish the best for the British automaker, but it needed Bahar out of the CEO role to get back to what it once was. Here’s to a fresh start for Lotus and we are hoping DRB-Hicom selects the perfect candidate for the job.