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Lotus given 'Green Light' to continue its 5 year revival plan

By Rigval on 24 Feb 2012

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Recently we have heard that Malaysian carmaker Proton has been sold to DRB Hicom. As a result of the sale there was talk that the new owners may divest itself of performance car manufacturer Lotus, which is owned by Proton. However, during a recent interview Lotus CEO Dany Bahar has told Autocar magazine that he has explained Lotus' five-year plan to DRB Hicom and he basically has been given the green light to carry on with the programme that he has pushed for.

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The programme is currently in its second year and Mr Bahar had pointed out that there is a newly designed gearbox is in the midst of dyno testing while the new in-house V8 engine is up and running. He also stated that Lotus has scheduled to run the supercar prototypes by May of this year (this is probably the prototype for the upcoming Lotus Esprit). What this basically means is that Proton has already pumped in a large wad of cash into Lotus and in Mr Bahar's words, Weve spent so much money already that it would be silly to write it off.

Yes it would be quite silly indeed, but sometimes silly things happen under new ownership. One good example was when Proton was taken over by the Malaysian Government's investment arm, they got rid of Proton's subsidiary motorcycle manufacturer MV Agusta for 1 Euro saying that it was not a worthwhile investment and it would be best to cut their losses before things get worse. Proton bought the company for 70million Euros. And the thing about MV Agusta at the time it wasn't really getting worse. They had a fabulous bike (the Tamburini designed F4) in their line-up and sales were actually decent.

I'd say that incident was a really large blunder and I do hope that things like that will never happen again. Dany Bahar goes to add that there are no serious inquiries to buy Lotus and that DRB Hicom should consider the fact that demand for Lotus cars is good with 383 orders of the latest Lotus Exige and 200 orders for the upcoming high performance Lotus Evora GTE. The only problem that Lotus would face is that there would not be any money coming from Proton for about 60 days.

This is because Proton is a public listed company and during the change of ownership, Malaysian Law does not allow public listed companies to transfer funds within a two month period. But two months isn't a long time to tighten one's belt. It shouldn't be too much of a problem if DRB Hicom is really sincere about letting Lotus become successful again instead of taking advantage of the Proton purchase and breaking up and selling parts of the company.

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Written by Rigval
Born in 1972. Married with a kid. Loves B-road drives and have driven cars from the 1950s to date.

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