By on August 9, 2018

lotus evora gt430

Zhejiang Geely Holding Group, the massive Chinese conglomerate that owns Volvo Cars and a controlling stake in Lotus, wants to turn the British sports car maker into a big deal. Potentially, a deal big enough to give Porsche bouts of anxiety.

That’s what sources with knowledge of Geely’s plans tell Bloomberg. The parent company’s efforts will reportedly include new facilities and assembly plants, funded by a cash injection totalling nearly $2 billion.

Geely wrestled control of Lotus away from Malaysia’s Proton in 2017, buying itself a 51-percent stake in the British brand. That stake might increase, the sources claim.

The report boils down to Geely chairman Li Shufu doing to Lotus what it did to Volvo after its acquisition of the Swedish brand in 2010. Colin Chapman’s baby stands to gain 200 engineers at its Hethel, UK headquarters and assembly facility as a first step in Shufu’s plan. Later, a second assembly plant will spring up, also located in the UK. A new UK design studio, already confirmed by Geely, will be part of the plan.

Lotus’s cash-flush parent wouldn’t go into details when contacted by Bloomberg, stating only that, “Geely is fully committed to restoring Lotus into being a leading global luxury brand.”

Currently, the automaker best known for building cars that ferried Emma Peel and Number 6 (at least in the opening credits) through the late 1960s builds just two vehicles: the Evora range and the outgoing 3-eleven, which isn’t road-legal in the United States. Hardly a dominating presence in the premium sports car market. Still, the brand’s products earn positive reviews, including from ol’ Bark.

For Lotus to make a bigger dent, it needs a bigger presence. That means more models, greater production volume — the whole works. While this report doesn’t mention new models, Lotus’ recently unveiled 10-year plan does. Future models include two new sports cars and an SUV, as no automaker can be without one in this day and age.

With a sport utility in its lineup, CEO Jean-Marc Gales believes little Lotus could boast sales of 10,000 vehicles per year — a six-fold increase from 2017’s tally.

[Image: Lotus Cars]

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15 Comments on “Geely Readies Cash Dump to Turn Little Lotus Into a Major Player: Report...”

  • avatar

    I think that Geely has a bit more to gain other than Proton, and they didn’t have the finances. Lotus’s engineering department can be a major asset to Geely.

  • avatar

    We don’t want or need another luxury brand. We want a tradition Lotus minimalist sports car. No power windows, carpeting… you get the idea. Just a fun light weight sports car.

  • avatar

    A Lotus SUV would confirm the end of times. I assume it would launch just as the last manual transmission Miata rolled off the line.

  • avatar

    A Lotus/Tesla reunification makes way too much sense.

  • avatar

    So they want to be like Porsche? Do they mean the Porsche that makes big, heavy, massively complicated SUVs that are 80% of Porsche’s current production or the niche sports cars that maintain the sporty brand image?

  • avatar

    This is how you get acceptance of Chinese vehicles.

    Demonstrate you can make them safe (Volvo).

    Demonstrate you can make them stylish and luxurious in a manner that is acceptable to Western sensibilities (Volvo)

    Demonstrate you can make them sporty and fun (Lotus)

    They still need to demonstrate they can build them tough, but that’s only if they want the truck/off-road cred.

    Do that while building them in Europe and the USA, and then siphon off a model here and there for China, and make sure the Chinese built ones are equal to, or better than, the European and American made ones.

    It’s smart strategy.

    Dumb strategy? Try bringing over something totally new and unknown hoping to emulate the Korean strategy. Hyundai and Kia aren’t neglecting the bottom of the market in their quest to move upwards.

    Another dumb idea is to produce a mediocre product with few redeeming qualities in China and hope people don’t notice / don’t care. I’m looking at you, GM.

  • avatar

    I respect how Geely has handled Volvo and I hope they can keep Lotus going. Still others have tried with no success. Mostly tho, I wish I could find some good rubber donuts for my old Elan. They are a pain to replace and I shouldn’t have to do it every couple of years.

  • avatar

    According to reports in the U.K. Lotus are looking to build a car factory and design studio in Coventry. This is interesting because it is basically the home of Jaguar and Land Rover. If Lotus want to grow I think they’ve probably realised that all the engineers in the U.K. live miles away from Norfolk.

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