Lotus’ Chinese owners have big plans for the iconic marque
Lotus would become a performance-car company to rival Porsche or Ferrari, with the iconic brand’s Chinese owners considering a massive revival plan.
Lotus is 51 per cent owned by Chinese automotive giant Geely, which also owns Volvo, and company chairman Li Shufu is reportedly working on a mammoth $US1.9b ($2.57b) rejuvenation program that would elevate the small-fry sports car brand to the performance-car big leagues.
Bloomberg is reporting the plan involves adding staff and facilities in the UK, as well as increasing Geely’s ownership stake in Lotus. And the Chinese company has form in this area, having invested heavily in Volvo to return the faltering Swedish brand to showroom success.
The plan also involves expanding the Lotus plant in Hethel (UK), and hiring 200 new engineers, before opening a second factory in the UK, as well as a new deign and innovation centre.
While Geely wouldn’t comment on the reports, a spokesperson did say: “Geely is fully committed to restoring Lotus into being a leading global luxury brand.”
Lotus has shifted just 32 cars in Australia so far this year, up from 30 to this time last year. That’s less than Lamborghini (78) and Ferrari (135), and a mile behind Porsche (2528), though the latter has a far bigger (and far more SUV-friendly) model range.