Evaluating The Lotus Rant: Fact And Fiction Page 2

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Included in the ribbing is Tony Fernandes, who gets some friction from Lotus over his Twitter stream, and a slam for his team being a backmarker rather than a front-runner as Lotus Renault is shaping up to be. Another cheap shot, to be sure, and also irrelevant to anything other than establishing that this is a pissing contest, not a legitimate myth-busting operation.

Rumor 3: Moving to Joe Saward, Lotus takes another shot--though it says it doesn't want to get "too personal," despite the shots just taken at Gascoyne and Fernandes--and proceeds to imply Saward is somehow beholden to Caterham when it comes to his writing about Lotus' situation--except for the fact that Saward readily discloses his non-journalist roles on his website, and takes great pains to couch all of his musings on Lotus' predicament in the language of "rumour," while writing what is clearly opinion on what those rumors might mean, should they prove true.

If no one were to write about Lotus except for its official announcements and new (actual) products, as the company seems to desire, there would be precious little to write about indeed. Moreover, the fact that such rumors are circulating at all--whether precisely accurate or not--is merely another sign of the admitted problems within Lotus.

Rumor 5: Lotus then begins to close its rant with a confused penultimate paragraph on the status of the Proton/DRB-Hicom takeover. First stating that the takeover of Proton "couldn't have come at a worse time," Lotus follows up by saying that Proton had "up until that point" been in support of Lotus' five-year plan to expand its factory, hiring, and product portfolio--and yet, somehow "still remains" so. Which is it, Lotus? Was the plan supported up until that point, or does it still continue to be supported? From what we see here, it could go either way. Way to start another rumor.

Reading further into that paragraph, Lotus goes on to admit funding for the "still...fully committed" plan has been restricted, and that DRB-Hicom is "taking time to understand what to do with the business." What might be done with Lotus? The release doesn't say what--but we think the media reports on the matter offer a pretty exhaustive examination of the possibilities. Despite this murky and self-contradictory explanation of the matter, Lotus goes on to say that these speculative media reports, or as it terms them, the "over-active rumour mill," are "seriously damaging our business reputation, image and credibility..." Yeah, it's the conspiratorial media that's doing the damage. Right.

And the final paragraph shines the light of fiction on the entire missive, admitting that Lotus is fighting to keep its vision alive. If there were no indication that the vision might die, what need for the fight?

So what does all of this mean?
Perhaps the most informative reading of the Lotus meltdown manifesto isn't the literal content, but what is shouted between the lines. Somehow, a global company with decades of history at the leading edge of motorsport and production car technology has managed to come off sounding like a defensive, snotty child, peeved that his peers are talking about him in the lunchroom--and it did so not just in a private email or a leaked document, but in a message blasted on every channel available, to all corners of the world.

That Lotus should think this sort of response to be appropriate, much less beneficial to its cause, speaks volumes more about the situation within the company. The frustration, tension, and emotional instability for those working within Lotus must be intense--understandably so, with so much looming over their heads. But don't mind any of that--Lotus hasn't denied it's going through a very difficult phase.

"Never let the truth get in the way of a good story," indeed. We couldn't have said it better ourselves.

Note: The author, far from bearing any animosity whatsoever toward Lotus, is in fact a huge fan of the company and its products--and for good reason. The article above is simply an honest attempt to analyze the beloved brand's incomprehensibly inept response to the media attention surrounding its current financial, product, and ownership issues.

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