It was widely acknowledged Group Lotus was feeling some financial pressure, but the company is now hard at work attempting to dispel rumors of a fiscal collapse and executive shake-up.
The statement comes after a lengthy period of financial woes, buyouts, and shaky footing for the British automaker. Its current owner, Proton, was recently purchased by another Malaysian company, DRB-Hicom, which is reportedly not as keen on giving Lotus carte blanche. Lotus’ ambitious and expensive product plan, which included updating or creating five models: Elise, Eterne, Elite, Esprit, and Elan.
That plan may or may not be in jeopardy. Lotus’ financial well temporarily dried up while Proton and DRB-Hicom undergo a Malaysian government-mandated 60-day transitional period. According to Autocar, that well hasn’t exactly begun flowing again, and Group Lotus is now reportedly under a heavy amount of scrutiny from DRB-Hicom managers. Other reports suggested Lotus may be forced into administration to help shed nearly $318 million in debt, and that CEO Dany Bahar is on leave from the company.
After Autocar and other outlets reported that Lotus may go into administration to help eliminate it of 200 million British pounds ($318 million), Lotus has pushed back in a statement. “At no point has DRB-HICOM indicated to Group Lotus that they intend to put the company into administration,” Lotus said, “and we welcome the opportunity to put that rumor along with incorrect speculation that production has stopped, that Dany Bahar is no longer CEO and that we are no longer involved in F1 to bed.”
Still unconfirmed, however, is Lotus’ future owner. Autocar reports that Lotus is being eyed by China Youngman, the company that currently imports Lotus cars into China and famously attempted to prop up and purchase Saab in its final days. Lotus’ statement would indicate that DRB-Hicom probably isn’t looking to sell it, but considering the brand’s pockmarked recent history, it’s anyone’s guess.
Sources: Lotus, Autocar