small_lotus_logo.jpgWe have more details on Group Lotus’ plan to turnaround the company within the next 5 years. Previous details on the plan revealed plans to produce more of it’s own cars, re-engineer third party cars, as well as expand it’s engineering consultancy business. More details about those details at this post.

Further details reveal that the flagship Lotus Esprit will be postponed to a end 2009, making it a 2010 model. Lotus says it needs more time to “insert more Lotus DNA” to ensure global competitiveness. Rumours previously had it that Lotus was to release the Esprit next year. The new Lotus Esprit is expected to be a mid-engine, rear wheel dirve layout and could use a 4.8 litre V8 DOHC unit from BMW, making more than 400 horsepower, which would be a real rocket combined with the Lotus philosophy of performance through weight reduction.

In the meanwhile, Lotus announced it will introduce a new mid-market level model in May 2008, as well as a new 4-seater high-performance model in collaboration with Proton – are we going to see a Proton car being tuned up in the style of the Lotus Carlton? Bernama reports that this model will be based on the Proton Satria Neo. The Lotus line-up currently includes the Elise, the Exige and the Europa.

As part of it’s efforts to cut costs, Group Lotus also announced 200 job cuts in it’s manufacturing workforce. The Hethel plant workforce suffers because of the US market slowdown, which is the company’s biggest market. Rather than calling it downsizing, officials have said it is more of a “right-sizing.”

There are some rumours of Proton selling off Lotus like what it did to MV Agusta, but Proton’s MD Syed Zainal Abidin Syed Mohamed Tahir was quick to clarify that there are no such plans, not now and not in the future. He was quoted to say “We will make sure that Lotus will work. We must ensure Lotus is a success; there is no other way.”

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Group Lotus 5-year turnaround plan.