Three Geely execs now sit on Lotus' five-member board of directors.
Volvo and Lotus are now officially in the same automotive family because China’s Geely is done with its $65 million acquisition of the famous British sports car company. Geely holds a 51-percent stake in the firm, and Malaysia’s Etika Automotive controls the remaining 49 percent.
The move also shakes up Lotus’ board of directors because Geely Chief Financial Officer Daniel Donghui Li is now also chairman of the British company. Two other top Geely execs are also on the five-member board.
Jean-Marc Gales remains Lotus’ chief executive officer, though. “We are producing the best cars in the company’s history and are currently developing next generation of sports luxury vehicles which will continue to demonstrate the Lotus brand values of class-leading vehicle dynamics, light weighting, styling and aerodynamics by leveraging Geely Holding’s global strengths and resources,” Gales told Autocar Professional.
Geely negotiated to buy DRB-Hicom’s controlling stake in Lotus for the equivalent of $65 million in May, but there were rumors about the deal even last year. At the same time, Geely also bought a 49.9-percent stake in Malaysian automaker Proton.
Experts believe that Geely might use a similar strategy for managing Lotus as the Chinese firm does Volvo. This would mean that British engineers would retain a level of autonomy in developing sports cars but with the extra advantage of Geely’s hefty bank account. The Chinese firm would then take liberally from any innovations for creating its own products.
Despite not adding a completely new vehicle in years, Lotus has done an admirable job at keeping its lineup fresh. Every few months the company seems to find a way to increase the output or cut the weight of the Elise, Exige, or Evora. The latest innovation is the Evora GT430 Sport, which is the company's fastest road vehicle ever with a top speed of 196 miles per hour (315 kilometers per hour). The automaker's first truly fresh model could be a crossover in just a few years.
Even before the Geely's purchase, business has been good at Lotus. Earlier in the year, the automaker posted its first operating profit since the 1970s.
Source: Autocar Professional