Lotus May Be Sold To China’s Youngman
When sports car company Lotus had announced the end of its title sponsorship of the Lotus F1 team, a red flag was raised as concerns over Group Lotus’ financial problems surfaced. Now, new reports reveal that the troubles facing the automaker are more than meets the eye.
Earlier warning signs were brought to attention this year when Lotus’ Malaysian parent company Proton sold a controlling stake to another Malaysian conglomerate, DRB-Hicom. As per Malaysian law, Lotus had to halt all business operations and freeze its financial accounts during the 60-day transition period.
The 60-day period ended in March and now, new owner DRB-Hicom is currently conducting the due diligence of Group Lotus, investigating worrisome figures including Lotus’ $320 million in accumulated debt.
Due to the mounting concerns, rumors have spread that Lotus may be put into administration to free itself from debt and that even CEO Dany Bahar has been let go from the company. What’s more, in line with our reports earlier this year, Chinese automaker Zhejian Youngman Lotus Automobile (Youngman) is a potential buyer of the brand, placing a bid on its remaining assets, including naming rights. The official importer of Proton and Lotus cars in China, Youngman is perhaps better known for its past failed attempt to purchase the now defunct Saab.
So far, a Lotus spokesperson has denied these rumors and insisted that DRB-Hicom and Lotus executives are working to keep the business running as usual, ”There have been and continue to be positive discussions between Group Lotus senior management and senior management at DRB-Hicom both here in Hethel and in Malaysia. Despite various rumours in the media to the contrary, at no point has DRB-Hicom indicated to Group Lotus that they intend to put the company into administration and we welcome the opportunity to put that rumour 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.”
The spokesperson adds, “It’s no secret that we are going through a very difficult time at the moment due to the change in ownership but we’re doing everything we can to get through this period and come out the other side stronger than before.”
Optimistic words, but something definitely isn’t right in the house of Lotus. Stay tuned for more information as the situation continues to develop.
英国《Autocar》4月11日报道称，莲花跑车目前财政吃紧，业已成为宝腾亏损的重要原因，新收购宝腾的DRB-Hicom集团一直在酝酿抛售莲花跑车业务；著名F1赛事记者Joe Saward及其他消息人士披露，莲花跑车相关资产可能被新东家DRB集团售予中国青年汽车，而青年早先于2006年成为莲花在中国的进口商，并在此后与宝腾旗下莲花工程（Lotus Engineering）合作，推出青年莲花乘用车。另外有传闻称，还有其他中国车企参与了收购莲花谈判。
今年3月初，莲花跑车CEO丹尼·巴哈尔（Dany Bahar）向媒体透露，公司目前财政吃紧，未来至少需要7.9亿美元资金维系开发，照当地法律莲花将进入为期3个月的“闭关期”（Lockdown Period），期间公司将减产并暂停开发新车。新东家DRB-Hicom集团正在审查窗口期（Due Diligence）收官阶段，原计划3月底敲定是否抛售莲花跑车，但迄今尚无正式结果公布。