Chinese car maker Geely Holding Group has bought a majority stake in Lotus. The news brings promise of desperately-needed new global Lotus products emerging from the Hethel factory in the coming years.
Whispers of a deal were first heard back in October 2016 and last week it was officially announced that Geely has acquired a majority 51 per cent stake in Lotus. The other 49 per cent remains with Etika Automotive, the Malaysian group behind the Proton brand. Etika's Jean-Marc Gales will continue in his role as Lotus CEO, a role he took on three years ago. There is little doubt that the lack of investment from Etika over the intervening years has choked growth at Lotus.
Of course, Geely is not without successful history when it comes to canny overseas investments. It bought Volvo from Ford's inept management back in 2010 and has transformed the fortunes of the Swedish brand. Now, the open chequebook of Geely's chairman Li Shufu will enable Lotus to really impact on global markets with investment in fresh product and new technologies.
The solid base for growth has already been set as Lotus enters a positive cash flow situation thanks to a ten per cent increase in sales in the first half of 2017 - ^WG