Proton seeks financing for Lotus’ five-year transformation plan

Article by Christian Andrei, on January 30, 2011

Talks are ongoing between Proton Holdings and CIMB and several other domestic banks to be granted a substantial loan in the amount of £480 million ($768 million) to spend on Group Lotus’ five-year transformation plan.

Proton Managing Director Datuk Syed Zainal Abidin told Malaysian reporters at the Lotus headquarters in Norfolk, England, that the majority of the funds would be in the form of bank loans borrowed by Proton on behalf of its wholly-owned subsidiary.

Abidin said that by itself, Group Lotus is unable to raise that amount and this is why Proton came in as the entire five-year turnaround exercise has to benefit the whole group.

Abidin added that they anticipate that the loan agreement will be signed next month as there are discussions with several banks including the company’s own banker CIMB. He said that the company is “confident” that Group Lotus can be turned around as it has five new Lotus models that will start production by 2012.

Lotus estimates that to attain the break-even point by 2014, annual sales have to reach about 8000 units of the five all-new models.

An all new Esprit is the first to arrive; it will launch sometime next year. Lotus has reeled in a number of key executives from rival manufacturers who are now tasked to build their new dream cars.

Many people have been excited for the return of the Lotus. The ultimate Lotus though is by far the one that true Lotus fans have been waiting for. Symbolizing what it means to be an exclusive supercar is the new Lotus Esprit. Not only does it pick up on its forefathers’ legacy but it even exceeds them, cementing its statement of superiority.

One approach is to think about it as the personal statement of intent of Group Lotus Chief Executive Officer Dany Bahar, who considers it as his vision of what Lotus should be in the future. According to him, the Lotus Esprit can be considered as the supreme supercar.

When people talked about Esprit in past, the discussion would include James Bond, Basic Instinct, and Pretty Woman. This time though the Lotus Esprit is now the star of the show, he added. People will always have an opinion and that is why the company took careful steps when it reinvented this iconic classic, Bahar said. There is a thin line between accepting past greatness and moving forward to the future.

The company wanted to make sure that this model would give justice not just to the Esprit name but to the Lotus brand in general, said Bahar further. The company believes that it has achieved this balance and was able to create a new icon, one that people will find difficult to resist, he continued.

In addition to looking incredible, the Lotus Esprit also has the performance to boot. The company remained loyal to the core values of Lotus when it comes to performance, Bahar related. This was possible by having a lightweight body and putting in new technology as well as exceptional engineering.

As a result, it is more than assured that the Esprit will be at the top of the pack. The design, according to Bahar, is aggressive and this is evidenced with the fact that even with the wide and low proportions, the vehicle continues to have a level of class, dignity, and importantly, exclusivity.

CEO Dany Bahar declared that he is indeed proud of this vehicle. Powering this supercar is the pressure-charged 5.0-liter V8 engine that can deliver a maximum of 620 PS. While it does have a lightweight design, the Lotus Esprit continues to have the exceptional performance making it the ultimate statement of what owning a Lotus supercar means. This particularly will redefine comfort, exclusivity, handling, performance, and ride.

Topics: proton, lotus

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