Lotus Enters New Ground with Chinese Ownership
By Zlatan Stankovic on October 6, 2017
Towards the beginning of 2017, we learned how Lotus had accepted a bid from Geely, parent company of Volvo, to take the 51% share previously owned by DRB-Hicom. After months of waiting, we finally have the news that the contract has been signed which now makes Lotus a Chinese company. As the majority shareholders, they take control and add Lotus to their list of subsidiaries along with Volvo; originally a Swedish manufacturer.
As one of the most famous and well-known brands coming from the UK in the past century, the remaining 49% of Lotus will remain with the Malaysian automotive group ‘Etika Automotive’. For the company itself and the way in which it’s operated, the agreement means they can finally move forward after months of speculation…only this time with more money.
Jean-Marc Gales, Lotus CEO, will retain his role with the company and this was one of the biggest concerns for fans, employees, and industry experts alike. Considering he made Lotus a profitable company within the fast half of 2017, this is great news for all. However, there has been a shake-up in the Board of Directors which now contains representatives from both Etika and Geely.
For those based in the headquarters in Hethel, UK, this office is set to remain as the hub of all activity and we don’t see this changing in the long-term either. With Volvo, Geely knew what to change and what simply works and they seem to have done the same with Lotus. If Lotus were to leave their roots in the UK, it would change the perception of the whole company (and perhaps even the way it’s operated) so we think their stay is important as they move forward with fresh impetus. For anyone looking in on Lotus from the outside in recent years, they can clearly see the brilliant engineering work coming from the people in Hethel so why change this?
In terms of the future, it’s certainly going to be interesting to see what happens. For us, we’re hoping for a sleek new Lotus sports car that can take the baton from the Elise. Although stunning and a fan favorite, the Elise architecture is perhaps ageing a little so this could be an area of concentration.
Let’s not forget, this move will also boost other models and brands under the Geely umbrella. In the future, it wouldn't be surprising to see the track-tuning expertise coming in handy for all models under Geely ownership. Could there even be crossovers and hybrids in the future? Perhaps we’re getting ahead of ourselves!
All things considered, we can be happy the Lotus brand will live on despite going through some difficult times in recent years. In fact, they’ve had a tough history and now it’s time for Lotus to shine bright once again!