Lotus look set to get a £1.5 billion in investment from new owners Geely – which also owns Volvo – to put Lotus back in to the big league.
It’s more than a year since Geely – best known in the West as the Chinese firm that gave Volvo back its Mojo – took effective control of Lotus, and although things have changed at Hethel there haven’t been any fireworks. Yet.
Geely promised they were planning to “unleash the potential” at Lotus when they announced the takeover, and there have been positive signs at Hethel that things are changing.
Not that it actually had anything to do with the Geely acquisition, but Lotus actually turned a profit last year built on ever more expensive special models, a lesson learnt which will stand them in good stead moving forward.
On the Geely front, we learnt just before Christmas that plans for a Lotus SUV will be delivered by using the underpinnings from the Volvo XC40 – which will be built in China alongside the XC40 and the Lynk & Co take on the same platform – but sports cars are very much in the mix too, and that Geely want to make Lotus a car maker which sits alongside Ferrari and Porsche at the top of the sports car club.
Now Autonews are reporting that Geely are planning a £1.5 billion investment to expand the Hethel operations and build a second factory – perhaps in the Midlands – as well as a new UK Design Studio in Coventry. Geely are also looking to increase their stake in Lotus, which is a real vote of confidence in the future.
Geely’s takeover of Volvo worked well – for Volvo and Geely – as did their acquisition of London Taxis. Lotus could end up the jewel in their crown if things go as well at Hethel as they have in Gotheburg.