18 Mar 2013

Group Lotus in serious trouble. Doesn't affect F1 team - UPDATED

Group Lotus seems to be in the process of being liquidated.  Is it all over for one of the most iconic of British car manufacturers?

Autocar announced this morning that HM Court and Tribunals Service have published a winding up order for Group Lotus PLC.  The HM Court website and shows Group Lotus at number 62 in a list of 70 companies being announced as being wound up at 10.30am this morning.

Group Lotus' problems don't affect the Lotus F1 Team who are on something of a high at the moment, having won the 2013 season opener at Melbourne.

"Lotus sold 329 cars in 2011. In 2012 they sold 137 cars. A spectacular drop of 58.4%. Will Lotus even survive 2013? The legal bills over the battle for the Lotus name in F1 must have come to more than Lotus make each year."

Car manufacturers have to sell cars in order to survive and it seems Lotus just don't sell many cars.  They haven't even tied up any lucrative deals recently with manufacturers in order to make Lotus versions of mundane cars, such as the Lotus Cortina or Lotus Carlton.

With such a talented pool of people, manufacturing resources and even their own test track surely Group Lotus must be ripe for the picking by Vauxhall, VW, Kia, Toyota (as we suggested here) or some other company looking for Lotus branded versions of their cars.

With the history of Lotus inveigled in our collective consciousness it's demise would surely be a more heavy loss to British car manufacturing than even TVR.  Sad times indeed.

Update:  Lotus PR got in touch on Twitter to say that Lotus is not liquidating and an official statement will follow soon.

Further update:  Here's the official statement, which we believe to relate to a claim made by Art Grand Prix and revolves around unpaid debts for the supply of GP2 and GP3 cars.  This matter may be over for now but Lotus' poor sales don't look to have improved in recent months.  

"Earlier this year, Lotus was in a contractual dispute which was resolved amicably a number of weeks ago. However the High Court process meant that the matter was still shown on the High Court website, as there was a hearing scheduled for today. This is what appears to have been seen and misunderstood.

The case was only listed for the proceedings to be disposed of.

The claim has now been dismissed with no order as to costs."