Go big or go home – that is Lotus Chief Executive Officer Dany Bahar’s vision for the future of the company. Lotus has carved a niche out for itself selling lightweight, mid-engined sports cars like the Elise and Exige.
Unfortunately, according to industry observers that niche isn’t a profitable one – Lotus has lost money for 15 years. Bob Lutz, who is an adviser to Lotus, recently said that this new business plan is the only hope for the brand’s long-term survival. What most don’t know about Lotus is that while it is a British brand, it is owned by Proton, which is in turned owned by the Mayalasian government.
That backing has enabled Lotus to survive thus far, while that wouldn’t be the case if the company was independent. Now you get more of an idea why they brought in Bahar to shake things up and turn a profit. The drumbeat from investment advisory firms is that Proton should sell Lotus.
Proton denies any interest in doing so, and they say they are moving ahead with a business plan that aims to reach profitability by 2014. Dany Bahar is confident Lotus will achieve that goal. Lotus needs to have a wide product lineup and be making money in order to be attractive to a potential buyer. Its value at this stage is probably quite low.
Speaking with Bloomberg, Bahar said: “The only thing we can do is show the current owners, or the new owners, that we are absolutely in line with the business plan that we have presented….without the funding support and the guarantees given by the Proton group, we would not survive, end of story.” No doubt, the lineup Lotus has presented requires a lot of money to be invested. At least so far, Proton appears to be going along with it. If everything goes well though, we wouldn’t be surprised to see them looking to offload Lotus at the height of its market value.