According to internal financial results for August, the company owes suppliers up to £23 million at 90 days overdue, and another £7 million between 30 and 90 days. Suppliers include ARM, Logica and OCS. One person close to the group said: “The danger is that someone may sue for winding-up.” Losses, after exceptional items, interest and tax, for the last five months to August are shown to be running at £23.6m.
The internal document states: “Cash flow: Critical. Overhead base is massively too high for current business, payroll bill for business is too high. Salaries top-end loaded.” It also says there was “insufficient inflow to meet the month’s supplier payments and payroll”.
137 Lotus cars sold in 2012
January’s figures were also significantly down on those for December 2012, although that too was a hardly-impressive 14. In all in 2012, Lotus sold 137 new cars in Britain.
However, they were not the worst-faring manufacturer in January. Swedish marque Saab only registered a single new car. But this will be scant consolation.
While the market in general remains tight for sports car manufacturers, Lotus still seems to be particularly struggling.
Elise, Exige, Evora
DRB-Hicom has said that its focus for turning Lotus around is reliant on selling more of its existing models, the Elise, Exige and Evora. These figures raise doubts about whether Lotus can achieve its sales targets for this year – set at an ambitious 3,500. If they are replicated elsewhere around the world, then that new showroom opened in Kuala Lumpur last month is going to have to generate some pretty impressive sales if this target is to be hit.
For Lotus, those in charge of finances – as well as workers at its Hethel plant in Norfolk – will be worried by these figures. That turnaround plan needs to kick in soon or the future for Lotus looks grim.
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