Group Lotus has managed to secure funding amounting to $440 million to fund its planned expansion in the course of the next seven years. The loan comes from six Malaysian banks. The word in Malaysia is that political pressure was applied to get the loan through as the Group Lotus business plan is – at best – optimistic, and relies on the company increasing sales to 7,000 cars a year, from the current level of around 2,000. The company has already burned through a large chunk of parent company Proton’s cash reserves in recent months. It will be interesting to see what happens next, but there are rumours in F1 circles of Proton looking in depth at its management structure in England. The company is waiting to hear from the High Court as to whether it will be allowed to exploit the link to the Lotus name in F1, when the car company was not involved with the racing and Team Lotus claims to have the rights to exploit the Team Lotus name. If Group Lotus loses the case, there may be further litigation relating to damage done to the Team Lotus brand in recent months.
Group Lotus has had an application for $45 million from the Regional Growth Fund in Britain turned down.