In a sign that Lotus’ new owner is committed to the British sports car company, DRB-Hicom, the Malaysian investment group that recently bought a controlling stake of Proton and with it the control of Lotus, has reportedly scrapped the overly ambitious five-year turnaround plan first announced by
ousted CEO Dany Bahar
at the 2010 Paris Auto Show.
A new plan, which is expected to be finalized over the next six to 12 months, is said to be much more realistic.
The information was revealed during a meeting between DRB-Hicom management and analysts at RHB Research, reports Malaysian newspaper The Star
The biggest change will be the scrapping of plans for six new Lotus models in favor of no more than three. The first of these is still expected to be a new Esprit supercar
, as development work on the car, and its new V-8 engine
, were well underway before the sale of Lotus’ parent company Proton.
Expenses will also be drastically reduced, which means we’re likely to see a reduction in Lotus’ motorsports participation as well as the number of its high-cost consultants. Some job cuts are expected, though these will be mostly from areas not directly related to the cars that will be launched.
Finally, the new plan is expected to make greater use of the engineering expertise and skill sets at Lotus, which would not only help Lotus deliver its future models faster but could be sold to rival firms.
It has also been revealed that DRB-Hicom has already injected close to $155 million into Lotus since taking controlling of the company and that it is willing to invest an additional $155 million by 2013. This is on top of a previous loan of $400 million from six main creditors in 2010, which was guaranteed at the time of its issue by Proton.
There are also claims that rival firms have offered to buy Lotus and its debts, one of which is said to be the Volkswagen Group, though so far no official announcement has been made.
Stay tuned for an update.