With Brexit looming on the horizon in Great Britain, Lotus has decided to put out a stiff-lipped British car maker mayday signal. Luckily, the distress call has been answered by an automotive company that has a history of breathing life into long-standing European brands. Enter well renowned Chinese billionaire, Li Shufu, and his Zhejiang Geely Holding Group.
Geely Holding Group, previously bought Volvo and London Taxi International. The company hopes to right the ship that is Britain’s darling automotive manufacturer with a controlling share of 51 percent (and a “sold” price of $65 million). The new ownership comes at a time of prosperity for Lotus after posting positive sales over the past two years compared to selling a mere 11 cars per month in 2012.
Lotus finds itself at a crossroads now. Rumor has it, electricity is on the brink of creation at the Lotus facility. The manufacturer is no stranger to electric vehicles after helping to produce and engineer the first Tesla Roadster in 2008 (the fourth generation model is shown in the photo below, ’cause it’s prettier). The rumor is a product of Geely’s investment in Volvo and London Taxi who have both announced the move to electric earlier this year. Both automakers have predicted major success with the move.
Now, you may be thinking that Colin Chapman is turning over in his grave with news of the ownership stake, but Lotus CEO, Jean Marc Gales has said, “…It must be a Lotus—lightweight and able to handle corners alongside any great sports car.” Colin should rest assured that his sports car recipe will remain intact with the addition of a pair of deeper pockets.
It has also been said Lotus could begin the business of restoring and selling certified pre-owned cars. Other car makers—such as Ferrari, Mercedes, Porsche, and Jaguar Land Rover—have shown great success in the classic car business, which could extend Lotus’ bottom line.
Have Lotus tapped into something fruitful after years of misery, or will this just delay the inevitable? We’ll just have to wait and see.