The giant Chinese automotive group Geely – the company that already owns Volvo – has taken a majority stake in Lotus Cars as part of a deal to rescue the Malaysian car company Proton, which has owned the Hethel-based sports car manufacturer since 1996.
Geely’s chief bean-counter Daniel Donghui Li said: “Reflecting our experience accumulated through Volvo Car’s revitalisation, we also aim to unleash the full potential of Lotus Cars and bring it into a new phase of development by expanding and accelerating the rolling out of new products and technologies.
Despite producing what is generally acknowledged as the best range of cars ever underJean-Marc Gales, Lotus has struggled on the sales front and lacked sufficient investment to get needed new models into development. A Lotus SUV – considered to be a potential money-spinner – is thought to be in the pipeline, ironically in partnership with a different Chinese company.
Industry watchers are saying that if Geely’s excellent reputation and solid results in transforming Volvo’s model line-up and fortunes are repeated in Norfolk, Lotus could be in for the best years of its life.