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Thread: Lotus to be sold to VW?

  1. #1
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    Lotus to be sold to VW?

    Quote Originally Posted by Autocar.co.uk
    A majority stake in Proton is to be sold to Volkswagen, according to Asian business reports, passing control not only of the Malaysian state-owned car-maker to VW, but also of British sports car-maker Lotus.

    Autocar's sources suggest that VW is to take a 51 per cent stake in Proton, which it will confirm in an announcement to the press on February 8. Proton, in turn, has owned an 80 per cent stake of Group Lotus, the company within which Lotus Cars operates, since 1996. The sale would therefore leave Hethel's best-known brand firmly under the control of Wolfsburg from now on.

    The sale of Proton has been mooted since the middle of last year. Various bidders have been linked with its acquisition, including General Motors and PSA Peugeot-Citroen.

    The implications that the sale might have for Lotus will remain unclear until the sale is made public.
    VAG's quest for total global domination shows no signs of abating. Let's hope that if the takeover goes through that VW leave Lotus farily autonomous and that they don't have to fall in line with the overall VAG marketing strategy. For example, the forthcoming Esprit could be seen to be in very close competition with the likes of the Audi R8, and also the 997 Carrera (don't forget Porsche have a big stake in VAG). I'd hate to think the Esprit could be somewhat neutered or even shelved altogether to fit VAG's business model. However, I'd certainly feel a lot happier with Lotus in VAG's hands than if it had gone to some of the other bidders, especially General Motors. It should afford Lotus some genuine long-term financial stability, something it hasn't had for a long time (if ever).
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    Is this good or bad for Lotus? It's certainly a tough question to answer, because it will bring Lotus financial stability (that's good), but Volkswagen's latest efforts at managing historic brands, Bentley and Bugatti, haven't been very good (that's bad).

    For Volkswagen I think it's bad move. Their million brands are already hugely overlapping with each other, so I don't see how adding another one could help them.
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    Call me cynical, but since autocar were touting this exact same story last week but with the word "Volkswagen" replaced with "General Motors", I'll wait till there some slightly better evidence.

    That said, the Volkswagen tie-up doesn't sound pretty for Lotus at all. Given the heavy links between VAG and Porsche, I'd imagine they'd be keen to minimise overlap. If that means that the emphasis goes in to track cars and such, then it might not be so bad, but if it means that the collective creativity of the Lotus team is stifled by parent company pressure, then that can't be good.

    On related note, after RTFA, one other thing occured to me. WTF would VW want with Proton? They've got Skoda, they're bored with Seat. I can't see why they'd want another Skoda. Not even slightly.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ferrer
    For Volkswagen I think it's bad move. Their million brands are already hugely overlapping with each other, so I don't see how adding another one could help them.
    that can be said for VW and Audi, however none of their brands overlap the compact racer category

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cotterik
    that can be said for VW and Audi, however none of their brands overlap the compact racer category
    Yes, Lotus isn't overlapping in any way with any of the current VW brands, in terms of brand values (performance through lightweight, advanced chassis engineering), not even Porsche. Ok their products might be similar in some ways, but there is a lot of room for differentiation.

    I think that VW wants to benefit from Lotus engineering expertise for small sportscars. For years now, I am reading reports about VW wanting to build a lightweight sportscar to rival the MR2 and MX5 and even the Elise itself.

    Well, VW this is your chance to make it!!

    Personally, as a very big fan of Lotus, I am FOR this acquisition, even though it's just a journalist story for the moment. In my mind they could be the next Lambo of the VW group (meaning that they will gain in financial stability and product upgrading - not that they will rival Lambo).

    The problem with Bentley was that they used many components from Audis and VW's like the engines. This is not a problem though for Lotus, as they always did (K-series & Toyota motors)

    This is good news if it finally happens!!!
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cotterik
    that can be said for VW and Audi, however none of their brands overlap the compact racer category
    There were rumors of a small mid engined Audi, which would eventually spawn a Seat variant. I suppose that is redundant now.
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    Quote Originally Posted by VtecMini
    That said, the Volkswagen tie-up doesn't sound pretty for Lotus at all. Given the heavy links between VAG and Porsche, I'd imagine they'd be keen to minimise overlap. If that means that the emphasis goes in to track cars and such, then it might not be so bad, but if it means that the collective creativity of the Lotus team is stifled by parent company pressure, then that can't be good.

    On related note, after RTFA, one other thing occured to me. WTF would VW want with Proton? They've got Skoda, they're bored with Seat. I can't see why they'd want another Skoda. Not even slightly.
    Proton have under used manufacturing plants in a cheap labour country (South Africa) buying the company and just using the factorys is probably cheaper than building new ones.

    Lotus is such a different company that they don't really compete with Porsche at all, and whats so bad about loosing Boxter sales to an Elise when you own both companys?
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    I'm actually not sure how I feel about this. I haven't been a fan of the the Lotuses(or is it Loti) of late. I think I lost the passion for the brand when the V8 Esprit rolled around, and I can't really explain why-it simply isn't the same.

    Anyway, I hope this brings some new models. Something that gets me excited. I find the Elise, Exige and Europa to be hideous, and regardless of the thrills they offer they aren't the whole package for me. I'd like something beautiful aswell as fast.
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    I hope Lotus does not become bought out, I cant see why VW would want lotus thought, they have enough subsidaries as it is and lotus shouldnt become a maker of bloated although (very) powerful cars like the continental GT

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    i think it will be the best for lotus.
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    Yeah, I'd rather see Lotus with VW than with whoever they are currently.

    Who are they with anyway?

    The way I see it, compact racers shouldn't conflict at all, unless they launch a new Esprit. That would be bad then.

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    Read the article - Proton owns Lotus currently.

    Proton would become the budget asian manufacturer and give VW more of a foothold in other asian countries than just China. and Lotus would probably just shrivel up and die, or turn into an engineering arm of Porsche.

    Not good.
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    Quote Originally Posted by h00t_h00t
    Proton have under used manufacturing plants in a cheap labour country (South Africa) buying the company and just using the factorys is probably cheaper than building new ones.
    Good call. Hadn't really thought of it that way.
    Lotus is such a different company that they don't really compete with Porsche at all, and whats so bad about loosing Boxter sales to an Elise when you own both companys?
    Not exactly. Due to the fact that Lotus won't be able to survive just making little buzzy roadsters forever, they're looking to make the move upmarket, as (sort of) exhibited by the Europa. I think there are rumours of something similar to the M250 making it's way in to the market (Think Europa, but bigger and plusher, i.e. a Boxster/Cayman). Although they're not directly comparable, a potential 911 buyer could well consider an Esprit is they were any good (here's hoping). And it's generally an accepted principle that it's bad to compete with yourself. Though VW/Audi don't seem to mind.

    On another note, playing devil's advocate, VAG engined Elises/Exiges are generally accepted as being damn quick cars. Available in its various forms of tune, the 1.8 would suit the Elise S3 rather nicely, I'd have imagined.

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    There is a 1.8t elise in Practical Performance Car magazine with 320hp, must be terrifying.

    An Esprit would be no match for a 911, the majority of 911 buyers don't know anything about cars other than badges, hence the sale of tiptronics and AWD models
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    Quote Originally Posted by h00t_h00t
    An Esprit would be no match for a 911, the majority of 911 buyers don't know anything about cars other than badges, hence the sale of tiptronics and AWD models
    A VAG-ised Esprit would surely include four wheel drive and a clutch-less gearbox...
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