Proton's New Owners Ponder Lotus Sale


2011 Lotus Evora S

2011 Lotus Evora S

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When Lotus’ parent company, Proton, was sold to manufacturing, transportation and power-generation conglomerate DRB-Hicom, critics said that a sale of Lotus would surely be pending.

After all, the boutique sports car builder hasn’t turned a profit for Proton since its acquisition in 1996. While the brand carries a certain prestige, prestige alone doesn’t pay the bills.

Now comes word from Automotive News (subscription required) that DRB-Hicom is “open to options” regarding the sale of Lotus. That said, DRB-Hicom’s managing director, Mohd Khamil Jamil, admits, “We need to sit down with Lotus management and look at their plans before arriving at a definitive decision.”

Lotus isn’t commenting on speculation, instead reiterating Monday’s statement that, “As far as we are aware, the situation changes nothing for Lotus. Proton’s support in our development remains very strong and our focus is on the delivery of the business plan.”

Several companies reportedly have interest in Lotus, including China’s largest automaker, Shanghai Automotive Industry Corp. (SAIC), which denied interest in the British sports car builder just last month.

Genii Capital, part owner of the Lotus-Renault Formula 1 team, is also said to have interest in buying the brand. Proton previously rejected reports that it was in dialogue to sell Lotus to Genii Capital, but things may be different under Proton’s new ownership.

No one knows what lies in store for Lotus in the coming months, but we certainly hope the storied sports car builder fares better than fellow boutique-brand Saab.

 
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