Geely Wants Lotus To Start Playing With The Big Boys
Geely’s plans for Lotus includes bringing the once-proud British sports car brand back to relevancy. But a new report from Automotive News Europe reveals that the Chinese auto giant now has bigger plans for its new acquisition, specifically increasing its stake in Lotus with a fresh $1.9 billion investment. If Geely’s plans come to fruition, it could up its stake in Lotus from 51 percent to a more significant ownership percentage. Doing so would cut into the shares of Malaysia’s Erika Automotive, which currently owns 49 percent of Lotus.
Lotus CEO Abruptly Steps Down Just as the Company is Poised to Take Flight
Jean-Marc Gales abruptly stepped down from his post as the CEO of Lotus, citing “personal reasons” as the cause of his exit. The French executive has been the main man behind the sports car brand since 2014 after former CEO Dany Bahar was forced to resign after being accused of misusing company funds. Quingfeng Feng, vice president and chief technical officer of Geely Auto Group, will assume Gales’ role as CEO of Lotus.
Sold! Geely’s Acquisition of Lotus Is Now Complete
After much talk about the fate of Lotus now that Geely was nearing the acquisition of the British sports car, both sides have finally hammered home a deal. Geely is now the new majority owner of Lotus. Strike the bells; the deal is done!
The finalized acquisition of Lotus puts Geely a step closer to becoming one of the most prominent Chinese automakers in the world. It already owns Volvo, which is coming off the heels of finalizing the separation of performance division Polestar with the latter now entrenched as a full-fledged performance brand. In addition, Geely also owns start-up Lynk & Co. and the London Taxi Company. The acquisition of a 51-percent ownership stake in Lotus means that Geely will now occupy three of the five seats on Lotus’ Board of Directors with the remaining two seats going to Malaysian Erika Automotive, which retains the other 49 percent stake in the British sports car brand. All three seats are now occupied by some of the most notable higher-ups within Geely, including executive vice president Daniel Donghui Li, who has been named the Chairman of the Board. In addition, Fen Qing Feng and Nathan Yu Ning have also been appointed to the Board on behalf of the Chinese auto conglomerate. Now that the acquisition is complete, Geely can now move forward with its plans for Lotus and take the company to heights it has never reached in the past. Perhaps those rumors of a Lotus SUV will finally come to fruition.
Continue after the jump to read the full story.
Now that Lotus is Free to Expand, Will an SUV be in the Works?
Now that beleaguered sports car brand Lotus is in the safe and stable arms of new parent firm Geely, there’s a lot of optimism and excitement surrounding the British automaker. One potential model that could finally materialize in the coming years is a Lotus SUV, which technically has been in the pipeline for well over a decade now. Not it appears close to reality as it’s ever been, and we could have Geely to thank for it.
To be clear, neither Lotus nor Geely have specifically identified an SUV as a future Lotus model. But Carl-Peter Forster, Geely board member and chairman of Geely-owned London taxi maker LEVC, hinted to Automotive News at the Frankfurt Motor Show about the possibility of seeing a Lotus SUV in the future. The main goal of Geely at this point is to look at possible avenues by which it can expand Lotus without diluting the brand’s status as a maker of lightweight sports cars. One way to do that is to build an SUV, something that Lotus has been keen on building since it introduced the APX CUV all the way back at the 2006 Geneva Motor Show. Nothing came out of those plans because Lotus didn’t have the money to build one, but with Geely now providing financial support, the possibilities are now open for Lotus to literally, in Forster’s own words, produce "any size of car and any number of cars.” Whether this pans out or not is another matter entirely. But consider a Lotus SUV as a viable possibility now, something that wouldn’t have happened had Geely not stepped in to buy the company.
Continue after the jump to read the full story.
Lotus Finally Gets A New Owner!
For the longest time, Lotus seemed like the most under-utilized car company in the industry. At the very least, it ranks high on the list of automakers that have failed to live up to its potential. Fortunately, things are now taking a turn for the better for the beleaguered British automaker as Hong Kong-based automaker Geely acquires a 51-percent share in Lotus from its parent company, Proton.
In addition to the 51-percent stake in Lotus, Geely is also acquiring a 49.9 percent stake in Proton itself from the company’s parent firm, Malaysian conglomerate DRB-Hicom. The movement of all these chess pieces means Lotus is free from its struggling past ownership and under the watchful eye of Geely, the fledgling Chinese automaker responsible for reviving Volvo. Geely’s assumed goal to do the same for Lotus, which is largely credited for introducing some of the best handling, lightweight sports cars back in its heyday. It’s been a while since Lotus was a relevant name in the auto industry, but with Geely now in charge, there’s a lot of optimism in the air.
Continue after the jump to read the full story.
Lotus Needs To Find An Owner That Will Take It Seriously
If you look at Lotus on the surface, you’ll see a company that appears to be on stable ground. It’s never been an automaker that prides itself on the volume of vehicles it makes, but it has released its share of models, most of which have been universally praised for being some of the best handling sports cars in the segment. But if you dig deep enough, you’ll realize that the soil that Lotus’ foundation stands on isn’t as stable as you’d think.
Financial trouble. Mismanagement. Multiple bouts with near-bankruptcy. The list of ills run long within Lotus, and as news comes out that the automaker is reportedly on the verge of another ownership change, the question on whether Lotus can have a stable and supportive ownership group has never been as relevant as it is today.
Reports say that DRB-Hicom, one of Malaysia’s biggest conglomerates and the current owner of Lotus, is on the verge of selling the sports car brand to Chinese manufacturer Geely. Separately, Proton could also be in play with reported talks of the PSA Group gaining a controlling stake in the Malaysian auto brand.
Two potential deals are on the table, but for now, or at least in this space, we’re only going to talk about Lotus.
The issue here is the tenuous status Lotus has had for years despite producing some of the purest sports cars in the segment. It’s gone through numerous bankruptcy ordeals just to keep the company afloat. It’s also gone through numerous ownership changes, most recently in 2012 when its parent company, Proton, was fully acquired by DRB-Hicom. Now DRB-Hicom is reportedly looking to divest Lotus from Proton and sell it to Geely, a Chinese automaker that counts Volvo among its auto brands.
Oh, and let’s not forget about the many controversies the company has been embroiled in, most notably the ouster of CEO Dany Bahar in 2012 over allegations that he was misusing company funds for his own lavish expenses. The two parties eventually settled in 2014 after multiple lawsuits but the fiasco served as another stain in the company, whether it deserved it or not.
So what do we make of this reported sale of Lotus to Geely? According to multiple reports, the Chinese automaker is keen on taking on Lotus while the PSA Group, the parent firm of Peugeot, Citroen, and DS, would be taking over Proton, thus splitting the two brands that have been linked together since 1993 when Proton acquired Lotus. Negotiations are still ongoing, but if it does happen, Lotus could find itself with another new owner. Hopefully, Geely has serious plans to turn Lotus around and bring some stability back to the company.
It’s a crying shame that the once proud British automaker has never had an ideal ownership situation for close to three decades now, but with a new ownership group reportedly on the horizon, there’s at least hope of seeing brighter days ahead for the sports car brand.
Continue after the jump to read the full story.
Will the Lotus Brand Finally Get a New Owner?
It’s no secret that Lotus has had its share of financial problems, with Automotive News Europe recently reporting that Lotus’ current parent company – Proton – was considering selling a stake in the brand back in mid-September. Since then little has been said, but if a new report from Road & Track is to be believed, Lotus could soon fall under the ownership of Geely. Citing “someone close to the fire,” Road & Track claims that Geely is currently on a mission to purchase other automotive companies and that “Lotus would make a great deal of sense for an acquisition.”
While this might come as a surprise to some, those who have been following Geely know that the Chinese-based company has been digging its teeth into the automotive industry in recent years. It acquired Volvo from Ford back in 2010, and two years later, Geely got its hands on The London Taxi Company. If you’re a fan of the Volvo XC90, you can thank Geely for that, as that was its first major launch through Volvo once the Acquisition of the Swedish brand was finalized.
Currently, Geely is dumping money into Lynk & Co, developing a new vehicle platform for new models, that will ultimately be tested through the somewhat-recently-acquired Volvo brand. Considering Lotus is headquartered in the U.K. – Hethel, Norfolk, England, to be exact – it makes a lot of sense for Geely to pursue Lotus as its next major investment. It certainly seems to have the capital that Lotus needs, and the ability to make things happen, so why not?
DRM-Hicom Considering Selling Shares Of Proton And Lotus
DRB-Hicom, the Malaysian conglomerate that owns Proton is reportedly looking into selling a stake in the auto brand in an effort to jolt some life back to the beleaguered company after years of toiling in automotive mediocrity. Automotive News Europe is reporting that Lotus could also be sold depending on the offer DRB-Hicom gets for the U.K.-based sports car brand.
Proton’s woes as an automaker has never been a secret within the industry. What used to be a company that dominated the Malaysian market in the 1990’s has been relegated to an afterthought, thanks in large part to its cars being poorly received by the market in addition to weak after-sales services and increasing competition brought about by the growing globalization of the industry. Proton’s status is so weak at this point that even a financial aid of 1.5 billion ringgit ($365 million based on current exchange rates) from the Malaysian government has failed in reinvigorating the once proud company.
A person familiar with the situation told Automotive News Europe that Proton sent out feelers to as many as 20 automakers earlier this year to feel out the marketplace for a potential buyer. It’s unclear how many companies replied to Proton’s request for proposals, but it is believed that the PSA Group (the parent firm of Peugeot and Citroen), Renault, and Suzuki all responded to the request.
DRB-Hicom has also reportedly opened the door for a buyer to to gain a majority stake in Proton. It’s a remarkable about-face by the company from previous attempts to search for a foreign partner, most notably in 2007 when both the Volkswagen Group and General Motors expressed interest in buying shares of Proton, only to be rebuffed by the Malaysian government because it didn’t want to give a controlling stake in the company.
Continue after the jump to read the full story.
Next Lotus Elise to Remain True to its Roots
Lotus has been rolling out all sorts of updates for the Elise recently, but it’s also working on a new iteration of the sports car. Essentially 15 years old as of 2016, the current Elise will get a replacement in 2020. That’s the word from company CEO Jean-Marc Gales, who also revealed that the next-generation model will remain true to its engineering roots.
According to gales, work on the redesigned roadster has already begun as Lotus is developing an extruded aluminum chassis around the same technology that debuted in the original Elise S1 back in 1996. The platform underpins all of the company’s cars today, but Gales thinks it can be substantially improved by 2020. This is the key to keeping the new Elise as close as possible to the original, especially when it comes to lightness and handling.
Autocar claims that Lotus aims for a curb weight of 900 kg (1,984 pounds), exactly 175 (386 pounds) more than the original model. Although it may seem like a lot of extra weight for a significantly newer car, we need to keep in mind that the third-gen Elise will have to comply with stricter safety requirements, especially in the United States. On the other hand, a 900-kg third-gen Elise would be lighter than the current Elise Cup 250, which tips the scales at an amazing 921 kg (2,030 pounds).
As far as design goes, the new Elise will remain true to the current styling. Although this means that many of the current features will be carried over, Lotus will redesign enough elements to give the sports car a fresh look. The car could be wider though in order to meet U.S. crash ratings.
Unless Lotus decided to that it’s time for a massive change in the drivetrain department, the next Elise will also feature Toyota-sourced engines and transmissions. We expect the third-gen model to benefit from up to 250 horsepower.
Continue reading for the full story.
There have been a lot of cool European cars that the U.S. has missed out on over the years. Sometimes it’s because the automakers assume we wouldn’t be interested, but sometimes it’s simply because the cars can’t meet our much more strict emissions and/or safety regulations. Such was the case with the Lotus Elise, which was such a low volume model that it received a number of exemptions from the NHTSA in order to be sold here. But those exemptions had time limits, and when they expired, Lotus had to pull the car out of the market.
Now it seems that the Elise will returning to American shores, but not for a little while. Lotus has decided that it would be too difficult and expensive to retrofit the necessary safety equipment, which would include smart airbags as well as side airbags. And not only that, it could add as much as 220 pounds to the car’s weight. So we’ll only be getting the Elise once Lotus brings out a new generation of the car, one that is designed from the outset to meet U.S. safety regulations. That means waiting until 2020, but at least it’ll still happen eventually.
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The new 2016 Lotus Evora 400 is now officially in production. The first example just rolled off the assembly line at the company’s plant in Hethel. The vehicle in question, finished in metallic black, was driven off the assembly line during a small celebration attended by senior management, manufacturing, and engineering staff. This specific model will be used as promotion car.
"Today is a very significant stage in our long term plan, which we set out more than a year ago. With the first Evora 400 coming off the line, we have achieved a key milestone for Lotus," said Jean-Marc Gales, CEO of Group Lotus. “None of this would be possible, of course, without the confidence and commitment of our workforce who, with great skill and talent, hand build every Lotus car at Hethel," he added.
Evora 400 deliveries for European markets will commence in August 2015, while China and North America will receive their batch of sports cars starting early 2016. The Evora 400 will be the only model Lotus will offer in the U.S. for the 2017 model year.
Developed to replace the 2013 Lotus Evora S, the Evora 400 uses a revamped supercharged, 3.5-liter V-6 engine that produces 400 horsepower and 302 pound-feet of torque. It needs 4.1 seconds to hit 60 mph and lapped the Hethel test track in 1:32 minutes. That’s 0.3 and six seconds faster than its predecessor, respectively.
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After struggling to turn the corner on sales and profitability, it looks as though Lotus is on the mend, as it recently announced that the 2016 Lotus Evora 400 will make its way stateside. Delivery is scheduled for December of this year, and vehicles sold will fall under the 2017 model year.
The good news follows a brief hiatus last year, when Lotus put a halt on deliveries as it performed an extensive company-wide restructuring. The announcement coincides with a recent shakeup of Lotus’ U.S. operations, as it moves its headquarters from Lawrenceville, Georgia, to Ann Arbor, Michigan, where it will set up shop next to Lotus Engineering, Inc.
Lotus said that moving its U.S. headquarters will allow for growth of both individual operations, with streamlined efficiency thanks to shared business functions across both divisions.
Jean-Marc Gales, CEO at Group Lotus Plc, commented that as the largest sports car market in the world, North America was particularly important to the brand, both in terms of sales and engineering consultancy. The move to Michigan will put Lotus in close proximity to some of the biggest U.S. automakers, reaffirming Lotus’ position with “...improved customer service, better technical and consultancy support, while ensuring that we have access to a skills base not found anywhere else in the territory.”
He also said that Lotus is expected to make further rapid developments in North America. The automaker currently has 47 dealers here, with several more slated to open in the future.
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When Jean-Marc Gales took the reigns as Lotus’ CEO in May 2014 after the disastrous Danny Bahar era, the former chief executive of PSA Peugeot Citroën had a lot of cleaning up to do. His predecessor was notably infamous for his over-ambitious plans and his under-handed business tactics. Bahar was regarded as the man who who almost sunk the fortunes of the once-proud sports car maker. Now that Gales is in-charge, he’s determined to revive Lotus to its former prestige, and he’s got a plan to do it from the inside-out.
Speaking with Automotive News Europe, the new Lotus CEO identified a number of key plans to return the company to profitability. According to Gales, one of the first objectives was restructuring the brand from top to bottom to help cut costs and put a bandage on the losses Lotus had incurred in 2012 and 2013. Part of that was making the difficult yet practical choice of laying off almost a quarter of its employees, a tough decision that Gales admitted had to be done.
With a slimmer workforce and a management team that has more influence on decision-making, the company’s next objective is to bolster a dealership network, something that it has already begun with the opening of nine new dealers worldwide in the past six months. At least 20 more dealerships are expected to open, possibly in key cities where there’s either an existing or budding market for a brand like Lotus.
The Lotus CEO also admitted that the company’s current financial state handcuffs it from developing its own technology. At this point, Gales said that Lotus “can’t afford to build [its] own engines,” so it will continue sourcing engines from bigger brands like Toyota and improve upon them to fit their own specifications. In addition to that, a new platform for its models also isn’t in the cards, so expect the automaker to continue using an aluminum tub chassis and make necessary refinements on it depending on a specific car’s purpose.
Oh, and if anybody’s wondering about the status of the five Lotus concepts Bahar unveiled at the 2012 Paris Motor Show, don’t expect to see any of them in the near and possibly far future. None of those five concepts, according to Gales, were for “serious production," and none of them are even remotely under consideration today.
But here’s the good news: Gales admitted in a separate interview with Auto Express back in September 2014 that new derivatives of the Elise, Exige, and Evora are in the short-term pipeline, and the possibility of a saloon and an SUV are also being discussed.
Click past the jump to read more about Lotus’ future plans.
Since its launch at the 2011 Frankfurt Motor Show, the Series 3 Lotus Exige S has become a fan favorite among sports car enthusiasts who wanted a go-go sports car that could take its rivals to the cleaners. The car’s popularity became evident off the bat, which explains why it only took Lotus two years to hit four digits on the Exige S’s production tally.
Yes, the 1,000th Exige S recently rolled off of Lotus production, a monumental achievement for the reinvigorated company and a testament to the popularity the V6-powered Exige S has cultivated since arriving on the sports car scene two years ago.
Ironically, Lotus isn’t sending the 1,000th Exige S to the waiting arms of an eager customer. Lotus has a special plan for the car, so it’s sending it to its Test and Development team where it will be used as a sign-off model for the new automatic gearbox the company announced in October 2014.
So instead of splashing on some graphics and selling it as an expensive special-edition model, Lotus is using the 1,000th Exige S to make the lineup even better. That’s a sign of a company that knows what it has on its hands and is determined to make it even better.
Congratulations on the milestone, Lotus!
Click past the jump to read more about the Lotus Exige S.
You may have read the news last week that Lotus was killing its only remaining road-legal model here in the United States. There were a lot of sad faces around the U.S., but considering the car never sold well to start with, I didn’t quite feel the sorrow. Still, if you were one of the Lotus fans who spent the week crying into your ultra-lightweight driving gloves, I have good news for you. According to a report from Jalopnik, the Evora will be back as a 2016 model.
A statement was posted to Lotus Forums, and Jalopnik says that the CEO of Lotus North America, Arnie Johnson confirmed it to be true. "We would like to comment upon the rumours that are circulating on social media and online, Lotus is committed to the North American market and will indeed produce a 2016 Model Year Evora that will be fully U.S. compliant. We will not be producing a 2015 model year Evora, therefore, there will be limited availability of 2014 model year cars over the next few months."
So there you have it, the Evora will be returning, just not next year. Considering Lotus wasn’t going to revise the current car to use the “smart airbags” that would make it U.S. legal again, it is likely that the new Evora will be a highly revised model, if not a new-generation car.
As always, keep your eyes here on TopSpeed.com and we will be sure to pass on all the news as soon as we get it.
Click past the jump to read more about the Lotus Evora.
The situation is looking pretty dim for Lotus as the automaker will stop selling the Evora, its only road-legal model in the U.S. This comes after Lotus recently announced plans to “restructure it worldwide workforce,” and that 325 jobs were on the line. What departments those job cuts will come from is still a mystery, but in a workforce that only numbers 1,200, that’s a serious cut.
The Evora’s demise comes thanks to its lack of smart airbags, a requirement for all road-going, U.S.-spec vehicles. While that federal requirement took effect in 2014, Lotus was granted a 12-month exemption from the clause, allowing the company to continue producing its two-seat coupe. With that exemption now expired, Lotus is forced to either re-engineer the Evora with the smart airbag system or discontinue production.
A “highly placed source in a U.S. dealer group” confirmed to Car and Driver that Lotus will not be reworking the car. Therefore, once the remaining stock of 2014 Evoras run dry, Lotus will be left selling its track-only variants of the Exige and Elise inside the U.S.
Click past the jump to read more about Lots Evora.
It’s been four years since Lotus introduced a brand-new model, but the financially troubled automaker could soon bounce back with a couple of new vehicles besides the Elise R that was spotted testing at the Nurburgring in August 2014. According to Malaysian outlet Utusan, the British sports car manufacturer is aiming to save itself from bankruptcy by entering two previously unexplored markets. Specifically, Lotus is planning to develop an SUV and a D-segment sedan (midsize for the U.S. market).
The new plan was devised Jean-Marc Gales, who took over as Lotus CEO in May 2014, and presented at a Board of Directors meeting chaired by Proton executives in Malaysia. Gales, who has previously worked for Citroen, Daimler, GM and Volkswagen, has been appointed to implement a new brand strategy at Lotus, which suffered a $283 million net loss in 2013, when global sales dropped by 40 percent.
Still hoping to sell more than 4,000 vehicles a year, a plan that went down the drain given last year’s disastrous results, Lotus wants a piece of the ever-growing SUV market and a powerful sedan that would appeal to Asian, and especially Chinese customers.
Click past the jump to learn more about the Lotus’ new vehicle plan
Lotus has been struggling not to go under for quite a few years now, but the U.K.-based sports car manufacturer - currently owned by Proton - could be off to a fresh start with a new CEO in charge.
As of this month, Group Lotus will be led by Jean-Marc Gales, the former CEO of the European Association of Automotive Suppliers and former president of Citroen and Peugeot, Malaysia’s Proton — parent company of Lotus — revealed today.
Responsible for implementing a brand-new strategy and restructuring Citroen’s sales value chain with the brand-new DS line, the 51-year old is expected to "drive the Lotus transformation plan and further enhance Lotus’ business and capabilities."
Gales, also employed by companies such as Daimler, General Motors and Volkswagen in the past, will be replacing Aslam Farikullah, who will remain a Member of the Board of Lotus Cars.
Specific details about the company’s immediate plans under Gales haven’t been disclosed, but the Luxembourgian is likely to come up with a new game plan by the end of the year and decide whether or not Lotus should go ahead with reviving the much-rumored Esprit.
Click past the jump to read about the Lotus’s recent woes
Rumors of Lotus’ involvement with Spyker’s production plans for the B6 Venator took a shot in the arm recently.
Recent reports indicate that Spyker CEO Victor Muller sent a letter to potential customers confirming that Spyker is indeed collaborating with Lotus.
According Autoweek.nl, the upcoming B6 Venator will use a Lotus-built engine that it will build from a Toyota-sourced engine block. Although nothing has been made official, rumors seem to point to a supercharged 3.5-liter V-6 engine that’s currently sitting under the hood of the Exige S. In the event that the B6 Venator will carry that powertrain, expect the output to be somewhere in the neighborhood of 345 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque.
In yet another surprising reveal from Muller, it appears that Spyker will also commemorate the impending launch of the B6 Venator with its own "Launch Edition" model, comprising of 100 models that will be given to the first 100 customers of the model. A host of special edition features will be added to the B6 Venator Launch Edition, including a Chronoswiss clock and a watch engraved with the car’s production number.
Spyker is expected to begin production of the B6 Venator in November 2014 but as early as now, the company is already accepting pre-orders for a €20,000 ($27,170) deposit.
Of course, for those wondering about the tie-up between these two fledgling companies, more details are likely to be revealed in the coming weeks.
Objectively, a Spyker with a Camry engine is not the most appealing idea. Nor is the idea of putting down a deposit on a vehicle that has not yet had any engine testing or fitting trials.
Click past the jump to read about the Spyker B6 Venator.
We all know that Lotus has a lot of issues, but there has never been any confirmation of exactly how much trouble Lotus is really in. After DRB-Hicom requested a delay in tax payments to the Inland Revenue, people started looking a little closer.
According to reports, Lotus has about £30 million (roughly $48 million at the current exchange rates) in overdue debts to various suppliers. £23 million (roughly $36.8 million) of this debt is 90 days overdue and £7 million (roughly $11.2 million) of it is between 30 and 90 days overdue. Here comes the oddest of claims by DRB-Hicom; a source close to the company says that the blame for the overdue payments is related to prior management ::cough::Dany Bahar::cough::.
Okay, Bahar has been gone since late May and that means that DRB-Hicom has had full control of Lotus, and its bills, for over five months now. We will gladly give Bahar a lion’s share of the credit for taking one of the greatest sports car companies and flushing it down the toilet, however, we cannot put the blame on him for bills that are now three months overdue.
This issue falls directly on the plate of DRB-Hicom and the CEO it appointed to run Lotus, not Bahar and not any other previous management. Sure, previous management may have spent money that it didn’t have carelessly, but you have had five months to figure out how to pay the bills, so deal with it.
DRB-Hicom may start rethinking the £1 offer it received several months ago. That’s a small sum of money to hand someone a debt-burdened and troubled company… We’ll keep an eye out for more on this situation.
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.
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 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.