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.