Last week, Reuters reported that the ever-expanding Volkswagen Group is considering to place a new bid for Proton, which owns the Lotus brand, some five years after the Germans failed to form a tie up with the Malaysian carmaker as it seeks to extend its reach in the southeast Asian markets.
Today, DRB-Hicom, which acquired a 42.7 percent stake in Proton earlier this year, said that it had received an offer from an unnamed foreign company to buy Lotus for £1 (US$1.6 / €1.3) and take over the British company's debts that amount to more than £200 million (US$311 million / €257 million).
The Malaysian company said it rejected the offer. "The easy way out was to accept the offer," Mohd Khamil, Proton executive chairman, told The Star. "As a businessman, that was what I could have done to cut the loss, move on."
"We believe we have a business plan that will work for Lotus. If I sell without trying, at the end of the day, I will fail my shareholders," he added.
While DRB-Hicom would not reveal the name of the company interested in Lotus, some have speculated that it could be Volkswagen. However, it's appears that the Germans are purely interested in Proton with Lotus simply being a part of the deal that it may or may not want to keep.
In related news, DRB-Hicom said that it would wind down its previous, overly ambitious plan to produce the five concept models shown at the 2010 Paris Motor Show and which was conceived under the leadership of former CEO Dany Bahar, who was fired last month.
Interesting times for Lotus indeed…