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Lotus's problem was/is/has been Danny Bahar. The ex-Ferrari buffoon who wanted to turn Lotus into Proton's Ferrari, and somehow figured that he could buy a motorsporting heritage by sponsoring and licensing teams and engines in every single racing series out there. Instead of, you know, ACTUALLY GOING RACING. What a circus.
Lotus is a farce. The company doesn't even know what they own (couldn't seem to realize that Group and Team Loti aren't the same thing). Now what little racing cred they had remaining has been well and truly obliterated. PLUS, GROUP LOTUS hasn't built a decent car since the Elise, which started development before Proton bought Lotus.
Quite frankly, Proton needs to stop GM'ing Lotus up (SAAB styles) and let the brand die a peaceful, if not long overdue, death.