Dany Bahar, the recently appointed chief executive of Group Lotus, is ready to stamp his authority on the company with a comprehensive rebranding.
Bahar, who previously worked for Ferrari, believes that Lotus has failed for many years to make the most of its racing achievements and rich heritage.
He has hired the Birmingham-based team of McCann Erickson, a global branding, marketing and communications specialist, with a brief to make Lotus exciting.
Peter Barnes, managing director of Lipscomb Motors, which has a Lotus dealership in Maidstone, Kent, said: “I am confident that Dany Bahar and his team will renew Lotus in terms of its brand identity.
“The way Lotus is viewed by potential buyers has been of concern to its dealers for some time but we can now look forward to seeing a better return on our investment.”
Lotus dealers who regard themselves as retailing professionals believe the network needs to be more uniform in its approach to sales.
One Lotus dealer said: “The problem is we still have some enthusiasts in the network who don’t understand what’s needed in selling the cars.”
Another dealer said: “We badly need a 300bhp-plus halo model to sit above the Evora, with the Exige and Elise below.
Lotus has let Audi and other brands in the big groups take too many sales from us.”
Lotus did not announce the appointment of McCann Erickson and made no comment. Dealers have not been called together to meet Bahar but most are allowing him time to assess what is needed before calling them in.
A new brand identity – based on the “pedigree and heritage” of Lotus – is planned for a high-profile launch at September’s Paris show. It will cover both Lotus Cars and Lotus Engineering, seen as a significant potential money maker.
Proton Group is understood to be putting a substantial amount of money into the rebranding, which will be supported by the sort of imaginative internet activity widely used by other carmakers.
McCann Erickson can draw on 60 years of Lotus, which won seven F1 world championship and has returned to the grid this year. Stirling Moss and Ayrton Senna were Lotus Grand Prix drivers.
Lotus appeared in the James Bond film The Spy Who Loved Me, and a high-profile product placement in a future film could be part of the rebranding programme.