Lotus abandons plans to introduce five new cars in five years, as new owner scales back ambitions
The new owners have dramatically scaled back the Norfolk firm’s ambitions, and in 2014 will launch just one new car, likely to be the Lotus Esprit supercar.
“The Dany Bahar plan is no longer viable. It has been closed down,” a source close to the company confirmed to Auto Express, referring to the flamboyant former Lotus boss who was sacked in June.
The shift in fortunes for the sports car maker came when parent company Proton was sold to Malaysian firm DRB-Hicom in January. The massive £270 million investment from Proton into Lotus was frozen and the future looked grim.
But now Lotus looks safe after DRB committed to the company. Our source said the investment money is now unfrozen and DRB has pumped in an additional £100 million of its own money, with another £100 million promised for next year.
“It’s their way of saying they are really serious about putting the company back on an even keel,” the source told us.
Things had become so bad that another maker had offered to buy Lotus for £1 earlier this year, it was revealed.
The five cars revealed at the Paris Motor Show included a replacement Elise with a two-litre turbo engine, a full four-seat GT, and a folding-hardtop coupe designed to rival the Ferrari California.
The Esprit was the only car developed before the much criticized model expansion, and could still be powered by a V8 developed in-house by Lotus.
New variants of current cars are still being developed and will include the convertible version of the Evora, due 2013