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stasisLAX
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Proton To Sell Lotus Motors - Rumored Near Death

Thu Dec 29, 2011 3:07 am

After the death of Saab, there is information today via Bloomberg News that Lotus Motors (maker of the Elan and Esprit sports cars) is in deep financial trouble and is on the verge of being sold by its parent, the Malaysian automaker Proton.

Proton’s main car business is producing sedans and taxis for its home market in Malaysia, which is clearly a diversion from Lotus ’ Ferrari and Porsche competitor aspirations. Proton is rumored to be looking to sell Lotus in order to focus more on its core automotive business.

Lotus has long been a niche automaker (along with Aston-Martin), but Lotus is trying to break out of that mold with a number of new products, including a sporty sedan (to compete with the Porsche Panamera) and a tiny city car (along the lines of Daimler's Smart model). However, many auto analysts doubt that the small automaker will be able to come up with the capital to fund its future product plans, seen as yet another reason for the rumored sale.

Previous press reports have stated that the Shanghai Automotive Industry Corp. and Luxembourg-based Genii Capital have shown interest in purchasing Lotus, but neither firm will confirm these press reports.

Lotus is said to need to sell about 8,000 vehicles annually to turn a profit. Last year, the company only sold slightly under 2,000 units worldwide. Very sad news for a once great sporting marque. A couple of James Bond movies in the 1970's also featured Lotus as Bond's gadget-laden car.

Source: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-1...et-go-along-with-profits-cars.html
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RE: Proton To Sell Lotus Motors - Rumored Near Death

Thu Dec 29, 2011 5:27 am

Quoting stasisLAX (Thread starter):
Lotus has long been a niche automaker (along with Aston-Martin),

And a niche of a niche at that. They have utterly failed at pushing their models out into the mainstream the way that Ferrari, Porsche, Maserati and to some extent Aston Martin have done. If anything, their product has become even more niche since they stopped selling the Esprit in favor of just the Elise/Exige combination before the introduction of the Evora, and even seems unlikely to be popular with the more mainstream sports car buyers.

Quoting stasisLAX (Thread starter):
Previous press reports have stated that the Shanghai Automotive Industry Corp. and Luxembourg-based Genii Capital have shown interest in purchasing Lotus, but neither firm will confirm these press reports

Lotus is a good name, but bringing them back to anything resembling competitiveness will take a lot of capital. Especially considering that very few companies can be a single model brand, even in that market space, particularly without financial and technical assistance from a large parent company. Aston, Maserati, Porsche, and Ferrari (which all do have large parent companies) have all seen their portfolios explode with new models. Same with Bentley and Rolls-Royce. Lamborghini was the last of the "major" exotic car makers to add a second model with the Gallardo in the mid-2000s. The only "mainstream exotic" manufacturers I can think of offering a single model would be McLaren and Bugatti. Lotus needs to decide if they are okay with being a fringe specialty player in the sports car market or if they are going to put the money and effort into trying to make it into the limelight as a premier car maker.
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