13 February 2014

What Lotus Cars Needs

The Evora model...

There are very few independent car brands. Ferrari, Maserati, Lamborghini, Rolls Royce and Bentley are some examples of marques that benefit from association with a company group. Being a maker of high end products doesn't mean independence is easy. Far from it. Morgan Cars manage it by making cars that are vintage anyway, so design costs are reduced for the odd new model they come up with.

Lotus has been run by Proton cars since 1996, but keeping it afloat is all you could say the owners have managed. They came up with ambitious ideas as I discussed here. Nothing came of the glorious future envisioned by it's CEO, it was too big an ask.

What Lotus need is to be tied up with a major car maker. They could get financial backing, make exclusive sport cars for them and even benefit from their international distribution. In turn, Lotus' engineering expertise would be returned. Only one company really fit the bill and they are Toyota. They have a history together.

In 1982, there was co-operation with Lotus assisting the development of the Mk II Supra. Lotus got chassis components in return for the Excel. Since then, Lotus have used Toyota engines. Lotus would gain greatly from Toyota ownership, and even Toyota could do with some improvement with its cars when it comes to things such as handling.

Will it happen? Probably not. Toyota aren't into acquiring car brands and would feel they are doing fine as things are. They would benefit in image in having Lotus on board and assist in shaking off Toyota's conservative, image. I think it would be a successful marriage, but I don't do matchmaking.

....and the Exige

2 comments:

  1. Hi Ray

    I like your analysis. Toyota would be an ideal fit. As discussed on a previous thread, they don't seem to believe in acquiring other brands, preferring to build their own, but surely there has to be a limit to this strategy.

    Just imagine what Toyota could do with Lotus if it copied what VW has been doing with Porsche. No-one thought that the Porsche brand could be anything but sportscars, yet it now sells far more SUVs than it does 911s, and is now introducing a mid-range car. Who knows how far the brand can stretch (probably only limited by internal competition with Audi). Lotus could do the same for Toyota. It could sit above Lexus as a prestige heritage brand, while quietly drawing on Lexus tech to help stretch the brand in multiple directions, which would help to fund a completely new bespoke Esprit.

    Chris G

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  2. Hopefully someone at Toyota read the article and passed the link on to Mr Toyoda.

    I jest of course.

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