Do you care about the truth? Do you care about the survival of a company whose engineering innovation has fundamentally influenced the cars we drive today? Do you really care? Or is Lotus just another target to parody and poke fun at for our own amusement?
I’d like to test this question with a story which will be published early next week. But first, let me bring you up to speed on why your viewpoint is relevant.
Early last week South Norfolk MP Richard Bacon told the House of Commons that accountancy firm KPMG had been appointed to find a Chinese buyer for Group Lotus. The story was picked up by several ‘reputable’ news providers (including the BBC) and soon was reported as fact, most notably by Autocar’s Steve Cropley, who reported the statement verbatim without appearing to question the accuracy of the claim.
My interest was naturally piqued by this latest revelation, not only because we’ve been following the Lotus situation closely, but because as a former Partner in KPMG and an Alumni of the firm, I keep in touch with my old colleagues and this was definitely ‘news’ to me. So, naturally I dug a little deeper.
During the past few months we’ve spoken with people within Proton, DRB-Hicom and the Malaysian government. We’ve compared notes with respected writers, such as Joe Saward, and thoroughly validated any assumptions we’ve presented after talking directly with Lotus.
I’ve never shied away from criticising the Norfolk car maker, nor its charismatic CEO, but I believe in everyone getting a fair hearing and dislike careless innuendo or misinformation.
With an advisory hat on I’ve sat down with Lotus to find out what’s really going on, to understand the impact of such public scrutiny on their day-to-day business. Everyone makes mistakes and Lotus has been quite open with me about the ones they’ve made, but they expect (and I believe deserve) a fair hearing in the press.
What interests me most at this time is ensuring people are well informed and able to make their own decisions based on the available facts.
As you can probably gather, that’s not the situation which currently exists. Right now, Lotus’ greatest frustration is seeing themselves judged in the media based on misleading comment and biased rhetoric. And despite pursuing retractions, in most cases they are largely being ignored.
If you’re an enthusiast, a fan, or just someone who values the expertise built up in one of Britain’s most innovative companies, then I invite you to hold the media to account, voice your displeasure at careless reporting and question the intentions of those who share their point of view (including myself).
Likewise, help me to ensure all the important questions have been asked. Post any in the comments below and I will endeavour to answer them after meeting again with Lotus next week.
It’s ‘Have Your Say’ time, so take advantage of the opportunity to be heard.