Lotus business plan in doubt now that Proton is considering selling the British manufacturer

Article by Christian Andrei, on January 2, 2012

Lotus’ expansion is being hampered by recent reports that the stake of the Malaysian government in Proton would be sold. Bloomberg said that due to speculation that control of Proton would be sold, its value increased by 50% in Kuala Lumpur trading this month. DRB-Hicom, from the local Malaysian car industry, is likely to get the majority holding.

According to investment experts, the new owner would probably have to divest itself of Proton’s 64% stake in Lotus Group International so that it could raise capital, which will be used to boost Proton’s market share in its domestic Malaysian market.

Proton’s profits dropped by 76% in the past quarter -- which is why it is being seen as a threat. Two Kuala Lumpur investment advisors, Gan Eng Peng of HwangDBS Investment and Alexander Chia of RHB Capital, told Bloomberg that a new Proton owner would find a Lotus sale to be sensible. But Lotus may not survive the sale if it means that a certain credit line would end.

Lotus CEO Dany Bahar is depending on this credit line to achieve its business plan for Lotus to be profitable by 2014. Bahar said that Lotus won’t survive without Proton’s support. Lotus would need an additional investment of £500 million to implement its expansion plan.

This sports car brand is valued at £200 million by Kuala Lumpur financial bodies but this is under the assumption that Bahar’s recovery plan is successful.

Future uncertain for the new Lotus Esprit

Group Lotus chief executive Dany Bahar called this vehicle as the ultimate supercar. Among Lotus fans and enthusiasts, there’s barely room for argument. After all, the new Lotus Esprit has been reincarnated and reinvented to embody the essence of exclusive supercar driving. While it picks up on the legacy of predecessors, the new Esprit is aiming to do more by becoming a statement of superiority. As for Bahar, it is his personal statement of intent and his vision for the future of the carmaker.

He even described the new Lotus Esprit as the star of the show. Bahar disclosed that Lotus took utmost care in reinventing the Esprit, especially because everyone has an opinion on how it should be reinvented.

To overcome this challenge as well as to do justice to the Esprit name and the Lotus brand, there is a need to achieve a fine balance between acknowledging its past as well as its greatness and taking a large step forward to the future. Yes, Lotus managed to achieve this fine balance and in the process created a new icon that will be hard to resist. He noted that the new Lotus Esprit both looks and performs incredibly.

Its superb operation was attained by sticking to Lotus core values of performance through lightweight materials and by employing terrific engineering and future technology. Bahar added that while the Esprit features an aggressive design with low and wide proportions, it still boasts of a high level of dignity, class and exclusivity.

This lightweight design is very well complemented by a powerful 5.0 liter V8 pressure charged engine serving as the supercar’s core, providing a max output of 620 PS. Nonetheless, the new Lotus Esprit features superb ride, handling and comfort. Highlighting the potent character of the new Lotus Esprit are its strong lines that run across its sleek low body as well as the symmetry of the supercar’s mass and proportion.

Topics: lotus, plan, proton

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