Lotus has some very ambitious plans--too ambitious some might say--to launch up to six new models between now and 2015, as well as start in-house development of its own powertrains.
Remember, this is a company that currently builds only a trio of very niche sports cars.
Lotus is the first to admit that it will need outside help to bring its new lineup, a preview of which we received at the 2010 Paris Auto Show in the form of six new concept cars, into production reality, but unfortunately not everyone is as confident as the Hethel-based automaker.
The British government recently rejected a £27.5 million (approximately $45 million) funding request from Lotus, which applied for part of the government’s $2.3 billion Regional Growth Fund. The fund is designed to help kick-start local production capabilities and hopefully create jobs, but it appears Lotus’ business plan didn’t meet government planners’ criteria.
Lotus requested the funding to build a new production facility at its Hethel headquarters in the UK for its planned new models and in the process create some 1,200 jobs. Without the funding, Lotus may be forced to outsource production of its new fleet, which means cars like the new-generation Esprit supercar due in 2013 may be built by an independent vehicle manufacturer outside the UK.
All is not lost, however, as this was just the first round bid for the Regional Growth Fund. Lotus will be placing a revised second round bid due to be decided upon later this year.
There’s also word that Lotus will be receiving a line of credit from several major banks located in Malaysia, the home country of parent company Proton. Such an outcome wouldn’t be too surprising given the influence of the Malaysian government on Proton.
Stay tuned for an update.