Earlier this year, there were reports that Geely Holding Group, a Chinese manufacturer, is working something out with Proton, a Malaysian automaker. Proton once owned the British sports car manufacturer Lotus. This month, it has finally been revealed what both companies were setting out to achieve - a $65 million (£51 million) transaction, that is Geely’s acquisition of a controlling stake of 51 percent in Lotus, scheduled to be finalized by the end of September.
Lotus has been around for 65 years already, and that whole time, the small company had a pretty wobbly existence. But the deep-pocketed Chinese might actually be the future of the company, according to specialists.
Back in 2010, Geely’s founder Li Shufu decided to acquire Volvo. And when it did, it provided the Swedish company the necessary investment, but at the same time, it retained the engineering and the same team that was behind the company, that specialized in what they do. This is exactly what Geely should do as they acquire Lotus.
This means that Lotus should retain its team and continue what they are doing, by providing technologies and engineering conceptions that will help Geely’s brands. These will include the lightweight chassis and body designs, and electric powertrains they have been developing. The British company specialized in helping larger companies lose weight, tune suspensions, and improve aerodynamics.
What Lotus should focus on developing next would be the introduction of electric cars, and electric sports cars I must say. And this will not be an issue for them as their engineers have been working with EV technologies. In fact, they even helped Tesla build and produce the Roadster from 2008.
Back in June, Jean Marc Gales, chief executive officer of Lotus since 2014, says that Geely’s plan is probably the best thing that has happened to the company so far. He also said in an interview with Bloomberg that it would be awesome if they are the first company to develop an electric car that is also extra light in weight. Gales then added that two to three years from now, battery-powered cars will be able to perform much better, as technology improves.
However, before this falls into place, the British automaker must deal with Brexit first. This means that the company must expand its market range outside the European Union, where already half of its production goes.
Let us hope that when the Chinese billionaire Geely finally takes over Lotus, the British specialty car maker will be rescued, after years of trying to revive the company’s 55-acre factory complex located in eastern England.