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Lotus chief heralds new era at Norfolk car maker

PUBLISHED: 12:00 21 October 2009 | UPDATED: 14:49 06 July 2010

New CEO of Lotus Group PLC Dany Bahar.

New CEO of Lotus Group PLC Dany Bahar.

Group Lotus' new chief executive is set to unveil a seven-year plan for the company's future by Christmas - including the possibility of new models.

In his first address to workers at the Hethel car maker and engineering consultancy, Dany Bahar, who took the reign on October 1 from Ferrari, said he would be announcing his intentions to staff in December.

Group Lotus' new chief executive is set to unveil a seven-year plan for the company's future by Christmas - including the possibility of new models.

In his first address to workers at the Hethel car maker and engineering consultancy, Dany Bahar, who took the reign on October 1 from Ferrari, said he would be announcing his intentions to staff in December.

While no details of Mr Bahar's plan have so far been revealed, previous proposals by Lotus chiefs included production of three new models, beginning with the Evora, deliveries of which began last month.

Mr Bahar, who took over the role from Mike Kimberley who retired due to ill health in the summer, said he planned to restore the Lotus brand to its past glories by producing “honest and authentic” sports cars and signalled a renewed focus on customers.

He said: “My vision is simple. Lotus will be profitable by producing beautiful, environmentally relevant, credible sports cars that are honest and authentic. By doing this, we will return the brand to where it was in the past, and where it rightfully belongs.”

He added: “Our future lies in aligning ourselves to what the market wants, rather than what we think the market wants; we must concentrate on our customers.”

Mr Bahar also spoke of his ambitions for the future of Group Lotus' engineering consultancy, Lotus Engineering, which supplies parts to major car manufacturers across the globe.

He said: “I have strong commitment to both growing and strengthening the Engineering sector of our business and part of that lies in making it more commercial and client centric.”

While car makers across the world have been hit hard by the recession, production of the Evora has seen more than 100 additional staff taken on in the last year at Group Lotus, owned by Malaysian manufacturer Proton.

And Mr Bahar, who has overseen Formula One strategies at Ferrari and drinks brand Red Bull, said he planned to build on last month's announcement for a new Lotus F1 team based at the Racing Technology Norfolk facility in Hingham.

Backed by a consortium of Malaysian investors, the team will be separate to Group Lotus but will draw on the Hethel company's racing expertise, and Mr Bahar said he was also considering racing in other global competitions.

He said: “Lotus will return to motorsport. I believe that this is the perfect platform to showcase our capabilities; racing is part of our heritage and even today the technology in our road cars is derived from racing. We will investigate participation in Indy car

series, GT and Le Mans racing amongst other series around the globe to demonstrate the shared technology.”

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