Lotus crises rolls on
Like an Elise with a blown head-gasket, Lotus stumbles on while the smoke around the company continues to swirl.
In what could be a glimmer of light, the latest report in Autocar says that the new owner "is not thinking about a sale", but rumours of a possible move into administration refuse to go away.
Lotus was owned by Proton, but Proton has been sold to a Malaysian conglomerate, DRB-HICOM, and it is not clear if the new owners are really committed to the Norfolk sports car manufacturer. Lotus is losing money and DRB-HICOM could conclude that there is no strategic fit between a company that makes economy cars in Asia and a glamorous, if troubled, sports car business in Britain.
One possibility is that Lotus could be put up for sale, but its debts are so high it is questionable whether it has much net value. Hence an alternative would be to put it into administration to clear its debts, and then sell it. Unlike Saab, Lotus probably is an attractive proposition to someone, but most likely only in a debt-free form. Meanwhile, the British government has put on hold its £10m grant to Lotus to help develop new models, until the situation becomes clearer.
Lotus still has some of the best chassis engineers in the industry and offers world-class consultancy services helping other manufacturers to design their cars. It is just a shame that it finds it so hard to design profitable cars for itself.