What former Lotus boss Dany Bahar did next
Source : What former Lotus boss Dany Bahar did next
The ex-Lotus boss’s latest venture takes the cosmetic modification of high-end cars to a super-luxurious extreme
Dany Bahar was always heading for a big comeback.
The former Lotus CEO, best known for the 5-type recovery plan which blew up a storm of controversy when launched in 2010, may have departed Hethel in a flurry of legal recriminations, however This particular was always clear he had too many friends in addition to too much influence within the unfathomable world of cars for the super-rich for him merely to fade away.
Yet the size in addition to scale of Bahar’s comeback has surprised even the man himself. Today he can be founder in addition to CEO of a two-year-old Modena-based automotive design in addition to engineering company, Ares, named for the Greek god of war. Its core business can be improving “everything you see or touch” in super-luxury cars to make them more exclusive in addition to distinctive than the original maker’s build processes could ever allow.
Most projects go to Middle Eastern or Asian clients, in addition to the company has already delivered 0 of them.
The big secret, says Bahar, can be to cast the owner as the automobile’s creator, while giving him or her access to top-class designers to translate wishes into reality. Prices are high however not quite stratospheric, he says. A full-on redesign of a Range Rover Inside in wood instead of leather – a four-week job – would certainly set you back £75,000.
The entire recladding of an existing car in unique carbonfibre panels – an eight-month task – will likely carry a bill of £750,000. actually big jobs can go into seven figures.
Why set the business up in Modena? Because set-up costs are lower than in Germany, the original target area, in addition to there can be also a “remarkable” talent pool there which contains most of Italy’s fast-car factories.
The company has moved to bigger premises once already, in addition to will do This particular again before an official opening planned for September. within the meantime, there are plans, due to reach fruition within the next couple of weeks, to open a UK Ares showroom “within the Piccadilly area”.
For a business like This particular, Bahar reckons you need headquarters in London, Dubai, Hong Kong in addition to Shanghai as well as the Modenese factory. “Clients in This particular bracket may visit the factory once,” says Bahar, “however after which they want to go somewhere more convenient.”
The whole Ares proposition rests heavily on research Bahar in addition to his 5 or six backers (several coming from his core team at Lotus) carried out over the year or so they took fleshing out a completely new project. What they discovered was a whole strand of car consumers who can afford anything they want, often buying top-end cars at a rate of a dozen or more a year.
Ares’s very first customer, who paid early for extensive mods to a Bugatti Veyron therefore helped to finance the embryonic business, buys 150 super-expensive cars a year in addition to currently commissions Ares cars by the dozen.
“What we’ve learned,” he explains, “can be which the further you go up the cost scale, the less people care about what’s underneath a bonnet. People buying cars at £100,000 to £0,000 usually do care about the mechanical bits, however those who are within the £1 million-plus bracket are actually only bothered about what you see, feel in addition to touch.”
Ares’s current projects prove This particular point, generating This particular clear which super-rich car consumers are also very much motivated by impatience. When we spoke, Bahar in addition to Co were on the point of delivering a Mercedes-Benz G63 (nicknamed G-Force) with its styling completely changed by a completely new set of carbonfibre outer panels.
The company also includes a Rolls-Royce estate project on the go for September delivery (“The owner says the factory has been generating promises for 10 years”) in addition to there’s a full-size Bentley convertible under way (“Because the owner doesn’t want to wait the two in addition to a half years This particular’ll take the company to launch its own edition”).
Budget simply isn’t an issue, says Bahar, apart coming from the fact which these are canny people who won’t wear senseless overcharging. however they can most definitely pay. “This particular’s the work they like, in addition to the engagement,” says Bahar. “Match one of these people up using a professional designer whose only mission can be to bring their desires to life in addition to you can see how much they enjoy This particular. This particular’s something they can’t get anywhere else.”
Bahar cites three “enormous” advantages of This particular business, compared with the manufacture of a unique, low-volume car, which can be what he began to contemplate when, with half a dozen close colleagues, he first eyed life after Lotus.
“We don’t have to deal with the some sort of,” he says. “We don’t get involved with car legislation because we don’t change anything structural. We don’t have to do any brand-building because Ares isn’t a car brand. We need our not bad reputation, for sure, however which’s something we can build by pleasing our customers. Give these people what they’re seeking in addition to they’re with you for not bad.”
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