Chinese Automaker Geely Finishes Takeover Of Lotus, SUV Edges Closer To Reality

Lotus has seen its ups and downs in the past few years. Not only did the motorsport division gave up the ghost after four seasons, but the automotive part of the business keeps churning out revisions of existing models. The latter is a consequence of Proton, whose finances took a turn for the worse in 2012.
Lotus Evora GT430 Sport 16 photos
Photo: Lotus
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As a consequence, Malaysian conglomerate DRB-Hicom acquired Lotus’ automotive business in 2012. A turnaround is in the pipeline, however, with Lotus now in the hands of the company that oversees Volvo and Polestar.

Chinese automaker Geely owns 51 percent of Lotus, whereas the remaining stake of 49 percent is in the hands of Etika Automotive of Malaysia. Details of the deal made the rounds since May 2017, but the takeover is now complete, and the Boards of Directors has been formally established.

In a surprise move, Geely decided to keep Jean-Marc Gales as the head honcho. Daniel Donghui Li is Chairman of the Board, and he has big plans for the iconic sports car manufacturer. “We now look forward to working with our partners to develop the Lotus brand into a globally competitive brand and a well-recognized leader in the sports car market,” he said. ”We are extremely confident that Lotus will go above and beyond the expectations of the automotive industry and consumer base in the near future.”

Reading between the lines, Geely knows that the heart and soul of Lotus are sports cars. For this reason, the Chinese company doesn’t plan on making a 180-degree change in the automaker’s way of being. But the upshot is, Geely’s ownership of Volvo (and Polestar) will result in platform sharing.

There’s been much talk about Lotus bringing an SUV to market in the long run as a competitor to the Porsche Macan and the oft-rumored Alpine SUV, and for what it’s worth, the Volvo XC60 might be an interesting building block. An even better proposition would be Polestar know-how, with the standalone manufacturer now busy with developing electric powertrains.

All things considered, the future looks bright for Lotus, a lot brighter than it was under Proton and DRB-Hicom. And possibly electrified.
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About the author: Mircea Panait
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After a 1:43 scale model of a Ferrari 250 GTO sparked Mircea's interest for cars when he was a kid, an early internship at Top Gear sealed his career path. He's most interested in muscle cars and American trucks, but he takes a passing interest in quirky kei cars as well.
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