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Has Volkswagen got room for one more sportscar brand under its umbrella?
Volkswagen has a whole mess of sportscars brands under its belt, including Porsche, Lamborghini and Bugatti. But has it got room for one more? The German auto giant recently acquired the remaining shares of Porsche to make its ownership complete, which in turn bought the Nardo high-speed test facility in Italy. VW also acquired Italdesign Giugiaro - a design house that has penned countless sportscars - and recently took control of the Ducati motorbike company. Now reports are indicating it could take over Lotus.
The development, reported by Reuters, projects that VW could buy the entire Proton group from its new owners DRB-Hicom. The Germans could be interested in Proton in order to secure a foothold in the Southeast Asian market, but the Malaysian automaker also happens to own Lotus lock, stock and proverbial barrel - an asset that Wolfsburg would not be likely to forfeit, particularly considering its recent spending spree. Lotus, if you've been following the industry news, has fallen on hard times recently. After over-extending himself, the company's ambitious chief executive Dany Behar was fired by his new employers.
The resulting management shift has left Bahar's plans to expand the brand's product portfolio in the waste bin. With an injection of cash from the wealthy Germans, however, Lotus could find itself with the wherewithal to develop some, if not all, of those (or other) new models. Volkswagen, in turn, would get one of the top engineering consultancies in the business, renowned for fine-tuning the suspensions and perfecting the chassis of all manner of cars from the original DeLorean and Aston Martin DB9 to the Vauxhall Carlton and Isuzu Impulse. We'll be keeping our eyes peeled to see where this one goes.