Group Lotus CEO Dany Bahar has been “suspended” from his position, a decision undertaken by parent company DRB Hicom.
No real details as to the reasoning behind this decision have been released, but Bahar’s “ambitious” aim of six new products by 2015 must play a significant part.
Whilst some car magazines were happy to trumpet the new models as a real, genuine proposition, ESM was cynical. Given that Lotus is a relatively small specialist manufacturer, producing and developing so many new models would always be a mammoth task. To be honest, not even huge car-makers would take on such a project lightly.
Along with this, Bahar has overseen the expensive (£20) Lotus lifestyle magazine, in addition to the collaboration with rapper Swizz Beatz. Whilst I can see the aim of taking Lotus upmarket – the high-end players will always have money – this is not the right brand.
Colin Chapman founded Lotus to make lightweight and technically advanced performance cars. Churning out a product range to rival Porsche head-on moves far away from that principle. Chapman did new and exciting; Bahar seemed obsessed with generic and profitable. I’m sure Colin would be turning in his grave.
The final straw must surely have come with that horrendous press release. Bahar looked like a mad man and made Lotus a laughing stock. That misjudged media message must be reason enough to oust him.
ESM hopes Lotus can survive and be sustainable; it is too big a name to lose. But it should look at innovative new products, and stick to its core values.