Lotus opens flagship store – but abandons Paris Show

Only in Lotus-land. At the same time it was opening its Ferrari-rivalling store in London, Lotus said it was pulling out of the Paris Motor Show in September.

In fact, the stories are two sides of the same coin. The flagship store was the brainchild of Dany Bahar, the recently-sacked Chief Executive, and Lotus’s owners no doubt found that all the bills for the store had already been paid, so they might as well go along with it. The Paris Show stand has presumably not been paid for, so they could get out of it. It would also have been extremely embarrassing to have appeared at Paris. It was there in 2010 that Lotus announced its insane plan to launch five new models in five years – also the brainchild of Dany Bahar.

On the plus side, Lotus has announced a facelifted Exige S, which takes pride of place in the new store. Interestingly, DRB-Hicom, the Malaysian Group that also owns Proton, have told a Malaysian newspaper that they were offered the princely sum of £1 for Lotus by another car manufacturer in return for getting Lotus’s debts off its hands. DRB-Hicom declined, but the newspaper, The Star, said Lotus will require an input of £200 million to see it through 2012 and into 2013.