Reports this week out of London indicate that Lotus CEO Dany Bahar seeks a partner, or even a purchaser, for the Hethel firm. Malaysian automaker Proton currently owns Lotus, but Proton was taken over in January when Malaysian auto parts supplier DRB-Hicom bought the government’s controlling interest. The trend with new ownership is to put every project on the table for review, and with Lotus in the midst of massive initiatives – Esprit, Elan, Eterne, new Elise and in-house V8 – it makes sense that Bahar isn’t wasting time arranging options.
Although it’s not exactly as if Bahar just started looking for a buyer. In summer 2011, Proton’s position was shaky enough that Bahar publicly sought outside investment, with Toyota often mentioned as a hypothetical mate.
It is said that Bahar wants £500 million ($792 million U.S.), roughly two-thirds the amount Proton (via bank loans) was said in 2010 to be committing to the brand’s revival. As one would expect, Chinese interests are suspected as potential buyers, but only one possible suitor has been named so far, that being Genii Capital, which owns the Lotus Formula 1 team.
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