Following yesterday’s news that Group Lotus was ending its sponsorship
of the Lotus F1 team while leaving the team’s name unchanged, a new report suggests that the automaker’s troubles run far deeper and that its ambitious five-year sports car program
could be on the skids.
Following the sale of a controlling stake
in its parent company Proton to Malaysian conglomerate DRB-Hicom in January, Lotus was forced to stop all work
and conserve cash for a 60-day transition period, as required under Malaysian law.
Those 60 days ended weeks ago, reports Autocar
, yet there’s been no word of any major update.
Lotus’ CEO Dany Bahar also appears to be on leave, according to the British magazine, and the automaker also has around $320 million worth of accumulated debts.
There’s talk that Lotus may either be put into administration to liberate it from its debts, and one potential buyer of its remaining assets, including its naming rights, is Zhejian Youngman Lotus Automobile (Youngman), the Chinese automaker that made a failed attempt to purchase Saab.
Youngman is the official importer of Lotus cars in China and also sells a range of Proton models in the country marketed as “Engineered by Lotus”.
Several other Chinese firms are rumored to be interested in acquiring Lotus, as is private equity firm Genii Capital, the current owner of the Lotus F1 team.
Stay tuned for an update.