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PRESS RELEASE

02 May 2014

PROTON Appoints New Lotus CEO

PROTON Holdings Berhad (“PROTON”) today announced the appointment of Jean-Marc Gales as the new Chief Executive Officer of Group Lotus plc, effective 1 May 2014. Lotus is a wholly owned subsidiary of PROTON and a member of the DRB-HICOM Group.

Gales, a Luxembourgian, holds a MSc in Management from London's Imperial College, and a MSc in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Karlsruhe in Germany.

A known industry player, Gales has held several significant positions with numerous global automotive manufacturers. Prior to his new appointment at Lotus, Gales was Chief Executive Officer of the European Association of Automotive Suppliers (“CLEPA”) since 2012, where he played a key role in turning around the association through various strategic initiatives, including streamlining the working processes and increasing corporate members from 82 to 112. Gales also established a lobbying strategy with the European Parliament and European Commission, and helped define the Industry Research & Innovation Strategy and Roadmap for 2025.

Before joining CLEPA, Gales was the President of Automobiles Citroen and Automobiles Peugeot between 2009 and 2012, where he restructured the entire sales value chain and implemented a new brand strategy for the DS Line and introduced the Citroen DS in major markets around the world. During his tenure there, the Company delivered record retail sales in 2009 and 2010.

Gales' other previous appointments include several senior positions in Daimler AG, General Motors and Volkswagen AG.

Aslam Farikullah, current Chief Operating Officer of Group Lotus plc, remains as Member of the Board of Lotus Cars Limited and will continue to contribute to the growth of the business in the future.

PROTON Chief Executive Officer, Dato’ Abdul Harith Abdullah is pleased to welcome Gales to the Group. "This is an exciting time for Lotus, and Jean-Marc's appointment could not have come at a more appropriate time, especially taking into account our plans for Lotus. We believe that with his strong technical and managerial expertise and leadership, Jean-Marc will be able to drive the Lotus transformation plan and further enhance Lotus' business and capabilities.”

Jean-Marc Gales is married and has one daughter.

ENDS
 

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Fingers crossed, Although I wish they would have picked someone that had extensive racing background. Bruce McLaren, Collin Chapman and Enzo Ferrari were passion driven, liked to win at the track and had a massive competitive nature. I keep hearing how they want to promote the "brand"
Danny Behar tried to turn it into Gucci. They should have put the guy responsible for creating the new Exige in charge!
 

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I don't agree. Lotus needs someone who can put the company on a stable footing. It sounds like this guy has the experience to do it. And he has an engineering background, so hopefully he appreciates what made Lotus great, and not deviate into stupidity like celebrity reps. I also hope his GM experience will help him navigate US regulations so we can keep the cars coming across the pond.
 

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Look at some of the citroens that came out during this guy's era. Hardly my cup of tea, but they sure had an energy to some of them (the DS). It seems like he did some good things with that brand, so here's to hoping he can do great things here!


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Very encouraging

Looks like a good move. Experienced in engineering, running a car company, growing sales, navigating US and Euro regulations. Let's see how long it takes him to visit the US.
 

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Fingers crossed, Although I wish they would have picked someone that had extensive racing background. Bruce McLaren, Collin Chapman and Enzo Ferrari were passion driven, liked to win at the track and had a massive competitive nature. I keep hearing how they want to promote the "brand"
Danny Behar tried to turn it into Gucci. They should have put the guy responsible for creating the new Exige in charge!
I don't agree. Times have changed and Lotus needs a business person who can get the brand on stable footing - that means financials, quality control, exciting product, dealer support, etc.

McLaren and Ferrari are really no comparisons. You are talking about companies that manufacture highly regarded supercars that sell at 2/3/10x what a Lotus does. In addition, McLaren and Ferrari have built their panache not just on their racing history, but more on the market value of their street cars. Hell an F1 sold at RM for $8M. And we all know the value of vintage Ferraris. Lotus isn't even in the same stratosphere.

And yes, while Chapman had a great philosophy of how to engineer a car, let's be honest - his business acumen was 'whatever'. Lotus, as a company, has always teetered on the edge of going the way of the dinosaurs. Hell, Chapman has been dead for almost 35 years.

I see the comparison of Lotus as more akin to Morgan or even TVR.

Lotus just nailed it when the released the Elige. They need to create their next Elige. The Evora obviously wasn't it. Think about it. The Elige - which really is Lotus' legacy (not the Seven that very few people outside of 'enthusiasts' even know exists) - is going on 20 years old. Outside of the Evora, every car that Lotus has launched in the last 10 plus years has been a variation on a theme. Yes, all that takes money and Bahar pissed it away, but Lotus needs to come up with the next mousetrap - and not ones that all look like scaled down 2005 Gallardos.
 

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This is what the company needs, an automotive business man.
 

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I don't agree. Times have changed and Lotus needs a business person who can get the brand on stable footing - that means financials, quality control, exciting product, dealer support, etc.

McLaren and Ferrari are really no comparisons. You are talking about companies that manufacture highly regarded supercars that sell at 2/3/10x what a Lotus does. In addition, McLaren and Ferrari have built their panache not just on their racing history, but more on the market value of their street cars. Hell an F1 sold at RM for $8M. And we all know the value of vintage Ferraris. Lotus isn't even in the same stratosphere.

And yes, while Chapman had a great philosophy of how to engineer a car, let's be honest - his business acumen was 'whatever'. Lotus, as a company, has always teetered on the edge of going the way of the dinosaurs. Hell, Chapman has been dead for almost 35 years.

I see the comparison of Lotus as more akin to Morgan or even TVR.

Lotus just nailed it when the released the Elige. They need to create their next Elige. The Evora obviously wasn't it. Think about it. The Elige - which really is Lotus' legacy (not the Seven that very few people outside of 'enthusiasts' even know exists) - is going on 20 years old. Outside of the Evora, every car that Lotus has launched in the last 10 plus years has been a variation on a theme. Yes, all that takes money and Bahar pissed it away, but Lotus needs to come up with the next mousetrap - and not ones that all look like scaled down 2005 Gallardos.
+1
 

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Let's see how long it takes him to visit the US.
Why?

The future of Lotus depends on success in many markets including the US.

Yes, he should pay attention to the US as it remains a significant market, but he must also pay attention to Asia (which will become the largest market for sports cars), Europe, and other smaller markets too.
 

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Looks like a good move. Experienced in engineering, running a car company, growing sales, navigating US and Euro regulations. Let's see how long it takes him to visit the US.
Exactly my thoughts.. He has a track record of increasing sales. They have largely ignored the US market since '08 (not that selling 400+ cars in '08 is paying attention). If you just look at the sales figures from '05-'09 its startling that each successive year the sales figures were nearly halved. Ridiculous !

I can't speak for others here but the Evora just doesn't do it for me, I road tested both and Evora and Elise a few years back and the difference in road feel and responsiveness was like night and day and I'm still dreading the thought of where to put my left foot while driving the Evora (just an awful design for those of us taller than 5'3").

I hope this guy can navigate US regulations and make some tweaks to the cars so that they can again be sold in the US and yet not change them in a way that makes them less desirable to us.
 

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Exactly my thoughts.. He has a track record of increasing sales. They have largely ignored the US market since '08 (not that selling 400+ cars in '08 is paying attention). If you just look at the sales figures from '05-'09 its startling that each successive year the sales figures were nearly halved. Ridiculous !

I can't speak for others here but the Evora just doesn't do it for me, I road tested both and Evora and Elise a few years back and the difference in road feel and responsiveness was like night and day and I'm still dreading the thought of where to put my left foot while driving the Evora (just an awful design for those of us taller than 5'3").

I hope this guy can navigate US regulations and make some tweaks to the cars so that they can again be sold in the US and yet not change them in a way that makes them less desirable to us.
In addition, while it is true that there are many markets, the US market is still attractive to luxury and sports car manufacturers. Though representing only about 12% of new passenger car registrations, it is still the second largest single market, and for example, accounts for nearly 25% of Ferrari sales, despite what I feel we hear about Russia and China.

Ferrari Sales 2012 Full Year Analysis | Fiat Group's World

The US is, or nearly is, also Porsche's largest single market: Porsche's World Wide Sales Figures for March and the 1st Quarter of 2013 - @FlatSixes - the blog about Porsche

And Maserati: https://www.google.com/search?q=maserati+sales+by+country&rls=com.microsoft:en-US:IE-Address&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ei=neNjU6XCONSosQSW-YHIDA&ved=0CAkQ_AUoAg&biw=1344&bih=746#facrc=_&imgdii=_&imgrc=fDzw-suuuLX-3M%253A%3Bqvoz_bBLiQyhQM%3Bhttp%253A%252F%252Feurope.autonews.com%252Fassets%252FPDF%252FCA918541115.JPG%3Bhttp%253A%252F%252Feurope.autonews.com%252Farticle%252F20131118%252FANE%252F131119927%252Fmaserati-quattroporte-sales-boosted-by-young-female-executives-in%3B1437%3B505
 

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Why?

The future of Lotus depends on success in many markets including the US.

Yes, he should pay attention to the US as it remains a significant market, but he must also pay attention to Asia (which will become the largest market for sports cars), Europe, and other smaller markets too.
But while the US remains a significant market, it also has some restrictive safety and emissions regulations which some of the developing markets do not. Hence the need for additional attention to the US. Right now, we can't get the latest iteration of the Exige here, and the Evora's exemption status is dubious.



I can't speak for others here but the Evora just doesn't do it for me, I road tested both and Evora and Elise a few years back and the difference in road feel and responsiveness was like night and day and I'm still dreading the thought of where to put my left foot while driving the Evora (just an awful design for those of us taller than 5'3").
Gee, this 5'10" person with a 34" inseam has no trouble at all. You can always opt for an IPS, or just have a dead pedal installed.
 

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I too an 5-10, way overweight and have no problem with the ergonomics of the Evora. I have track driven without a Dead pedal got used to it after a few laps but magically my '12 (1st released car in US) came with one..
 

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This really is a positive statement on Lotus future. The prior CEO was a temporary position held by a Proton/ DRB executive. He could have bee. Running until decision to keep, sell or liquidate. Now they are an euro auto exec. With a good history, he will either strengthen the company or work with another auto company to buy lotus out, either is better than bouncing along just pennies above bankruptcy or oblivion.
 

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This is good news, and a great choice IMHO. If you read between the lines of the press release, they've highlighted his turnaround successes, and a turnaround business guy is what Lotus needs at this point in time.
 

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The first thing I would ask this guy to do is to change that 1986 rear on this car, is hideous!!

 

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You know, he makes the Exige look big. :)
 
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