Lopez would consider Group Lotus bid
Gerard Lopez has confirmed his investment company Genii Capital would be interested in buying car manufacturer Group Lotus under the right circumstances.
Genii owns a 100% stake in the Lotus Formula One team, which is separate from, but sponsored by, Group Lotus. However, Group Lotus could be up for sale within the next couple of months as there are rumours in Malaysia that DRB-Hicom, which recently bought a controlling stake in Group Lotus' parent company Proton, is looking to offload the sports car manufacturer.
"As far as Group Lotus goes, it's a very great brand," Lopez said. "People have said that if there was a deal to be had then we would be interested, which is wrong. I think if there is a way that we think the company can be bought and run successfully then of course we would be interested."
Under Proton's control, Group Lotus initiated an ambitious £200 million overhaul, which includes new models and a doubling of output to 7,000 units by 2014. Lopez indicated that Genii would be interested in buying into the car company if he felt it could make the plans work.
"We're carrying the brand now on our [F1] cars so there is an emotional attachment to it, but there's also a belief that a number of things that they are doing is right in terms of cars," he added. "Some things might be better, but overall we would show interest if we believe that there is something good that can be done by acquiring that company."
Lotus changed its chassis name from Renault over the winter and Lopez has no plans to change it again, even if Group Lotus is sold to new owners unwilling to continue its sponsorship deal.
"We've tried to separate both issues just in case and essentially the name is something that we want to and we can carry over regardless," he said. "It's an historic brand - we were never going to call it Genii F1 Team or something like that.
"Coming up with a new name was something that we could have done, but being able to associate yourself with an iconic brand is good business practice, it just makes a lot of sense.
He added: "Hopefully that will continue to be the case, if not it's still a very strong brand to carry on [with]."