Lotus hits back at false rumours
LOTUS has issued a remarkable reply to rumours it claims have been spread by jealous rivals.
The Norfolk-based sports car company has been stung by a series of articles that have appeared on the internet.
The final straw appears to have been a Photoshop'd picture which placed the head of Lotus CEO Danny Bahar over a picture of Mohammed Saeed Al Sahaf - better known as Comical Ali for his ludicrous press briefings during the Gulf War.
In a press release headed "Never let the facts get in the way of a good story..." the company asked: "Take a little look at what we found online. Don’t you think it’s funny? We do. We had a good old giggle. After all, we love a bit of self irony, just as well really. Although it’s funny, this one’s not accurate but then again, why let the facts get in the way of a good story?"
The press release said the company had decided to turn a negative into a positive by correcting some of the rumours swirling around the internet.
It goes on: "We have decided to turn a negative into a positive and use this hilarious piece of ‘art’ to set the record straight regarding the status quo at Group Lotus and try to return a little stability to a fast changing situation.
"False rumour #1: Dany Bahar is no longer CEO of Group Lotus.
"Fact: Rubbish – Dany Bahar still is.
"False rumour #2: Dato’ Sri Syed is no longer Managing Director of Proton.
"Fact: Again rubbish. He still is."
The release also names ajournalist it claims is behind "damaging rumours and misleading stories".
And it goes on: "False rumour #4: Group Lotus is no longer involved in F1.
"Fact: Lotus F1 Team and Group Lotus have reshaped their commercial relationship earlier this year. The new governance agreement signifies the continued commitment of Group Lotus to the team and the sport.
"Group Lotus’ branding and marketing rights and subsequent activities remain unaffected by the new agreement until at least 2017. Alongside continued branding and title partnership status, Group Lotus is also the exclusive master licensee for all Lotus F1 Team merchandise.
"The new agreement was reached following Group Lotus owners Proton providing team owners Genii with a £30m loan which is repayable within three years. In order to secure the loan Genii used 100 per cent of the F1 team’s assets as collateral meaning that under the conditions of the loan agreement Proton have been given full title guarantee to all plant, machinery, show cars, computers, office and the Lotus F1 Team headquarters.
"In addition Proton retains the rights to purchase 10 per cent of the F1 team. Another 10 per cent share option will be activated if the team default on their loan obligations with Proton.
"Again we leave it to your judgement how ‘bad’ Lotus’ current situation in F1 is. And speaking of bad situations…..
"False rumour #5: Group Lotus is going into administration.
"Fact: Rubbish. The takeover of our parent company Proton by DRB-HICOM couldn’t have come at a worse time, but up until that point Proton was (and still remains) fully committed to our five year business plan to create jobs and to expand the factory and business. With the takeover process the funding has been restricted and DRB-HICOM is taking time to understand what to do with the business. DRB-HICOM is currently in the middle of due diligence of Group Lotus and there have been and continue to be positive discussions between Group Lotus senior management and senior management at DRB-HICOM both here in Hethel and in Malaysia. At no point has DRB-HICOM indicated to Group Lotus that it intends to put the company into administration."
The company signs off saying: "The over-active rumour mill is seriously damaging our business reputation, image and credibility but it is what it is.
"The simple fact is, and we haven’t denied this - Lotus is going through a very difficult phase at the moment but we are showing true fighting spirit every day in trying to keep this vision alive.
"This is also a fact – no matter what people outside of Lotus may say or tweet or blog."