RE: Geely plans ?1.5bn Lotus investment

RE: Geely plans ?1.5bn Lotus investment

Thursday 9th August

Geely plans £1.5bn Lotus investment

New factories, more staff and more cars due in Geely's great Lotus vision



If news of ambitious Lotus expansion plans leaves you feeling a wee bit cynical, then we understand. The brand's tumultuous recent history is almost an object lesson in how not to resuscitate a low volume sports car maker. But the news of new owners Geely setting aside more than £1.5bn for investment in Hethel, as well as plants further afield, is surely good news given the Chinese firm's own track record.

The ideas, apparently sent to Bloomberg and picked up by Autocar, include upping its current 51% stake in Lotus, creating a new design centre in Coventry, building a factory in the Midlands and bringing 200 new engineers to Hethel.


As if that wasn't enough, the Autocar story is also suggesting that a Lotus factory will be built in China to handle demand from the Far East. However, as if pre-empting the fears of the Lotus faithful, Geely boss Li Shufu said the brand is very much still focused on the UK: "We see no reason to move fifty years of combined experience to China; let them do what they do best, in Britain."

Shufu, it must be said, does not have a history of empty rhetoric. His ambitions for Lotus are tied into his ambitions for Geely, and that entails nothing less than turning it into a full-scale global manufacturer - one big enough to challenge the established players in Europe and Japan. And if that sounds like a pinch-of-salt statement, it's worth pointing out that Geely is also Daimler's biggest single shareholder - a stake which cost it a cool £6.4 billion. 


So what is the grand Geely vision for Lotus? Well there are no plans for five new cars at Paris just yet, though "leading global luxury brand" is said to be mentioned in the Geely email, which could well perturb those raised on a Lotus of lithe, lightweight sports cars. On the other hand it's not lithe, lightweight sports cars that the global buying public currently demands, so don't expect the Lotus portfolio diversification to stop at just the one SUV

If it wants to rival brands like Porsche - yes, we said it, but that must be wear a sports car manufacturer is aiming in 2018 - then it will need a similarly broad range of cars. What do you want to see first, the small SUV or the big luxury saloon? Bold perhaps, but with Lotus engineering nous finally supported by some proper financial backing, the time for a change in fortune might just be upon us.

Author
Discussion

Global Nomad

Original Poster:

1 posts

13 months

Thursday 9th August
quotequote all
With everyone doing SUV's it feels very late to the party....I think a hot estate would be much more in keeping with the rediscovered fashionability and interest in that segment. Would also tap into the relationship with Volvo and fill the huge gap left by the lack of an Guilia Quadrifoglio estate - that's what i want not a Stelvio.

British Beef

1,112 posts

97 months

Thursday 9th August
quotequote all
I visited the Lotus factory in Norfolk just 2 weeks ago, very interesting and well worth a visit.

They are already bulding a huge new facility on the site, and additional investment for the next generation of cars can only be fantastic news for the brand, employees and us car enthusiasts, even if it includes an SUV to help payback that investment!

GranCab

1,171 posts

78 months

Thursday 9th August
quotequote all
Where or wear ???

But good news at last for Lotus ... Geely appear to be the ideal investor/partner.

Black S2K

720 posts

181 months

Thursday 9th August
quotequote all
Global Nomad said:
With everyone doing SUV's it feels very late to the party....I think a hot estate would be much more in keeping with the rediscovered fashionability and interest in that segment. Would also tap into the relationship with Volvo and fill the huge gap left by the lack of an Guilia Quadrifoglio estate - that's what i want not a Stelvio.
That's a very interesting idea.



Didn't do too well last time, though!

DBRacingGod

482 posts

124 months

Thursday 9th August
quotequote all
Great opening pic, posing outside the Hethel factory.
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suffolk009

3,793 posts

97 months

Thursday 9th August
quotequote all
Global Nomad said:
With everyone doing SUV's it feels very late to the party....I think a hot estate would be much more in keeping with the rediscovered fashionability and interest in that segment. Would also tap into the relationship with Volvo and fill the huge gap left by the lack of an Guilia Quadrifoglio estate - that's what i want not a Stelvio.
I'll bet all the change in my pockets that wherever the pre-Geely Lotus SUV was at, it has been unceremoniously binned. It will surely end up being a rebodied Volvo XC40, in the same way that Geely have recently launched just such a car under their own name.

Ikobo

349 posts

81 months

Thursday 9th August
quotequote all
I absolutely love Lotus cars, and can only see this as good news. Also having owned a Geely era Volvo for the last two years, if they can get the build quality to that level, combined with the Lotus magic, a fifth car could be on the cards for me.

DonkeyApple

30,438 posts

101 months

Thursday 9th August
quotequote all
suffolk009 said:
I'll bet all the change in my pockets that wherever the pre-Geely Lotus SUV was at, it has been unceremoniously binned. It will surely end up being a rebodied Volvo XC40, in the same way that Geely have recently launched just such a car under their own name.
Personally, I think the Volvo range at the moment knock the socks off BMW, Jag and Merc. Stylish looking cars with interiors to boot. Maybe ‘Lotusing’ each car in their range like Porsche have done with VWs is going to be the way forward for volume.

If Lotus is about ‘adding lightness’ then Lotus should be able to have an absolute field day in the SUV segment. It’s a segment that absolutely everything Chapman stood for and believed in could be brought to bear on. It’s fat, it clumsy, it’s thirsty and it’s over priced. Lotus ethics can make it light, nimble, efficient and cheaper.

Just better in every way except for the OAPs who need neck warmers, pile warmers and Stanna seats as they are too feeble, decrepit and senile to do anything themselves or to survive more than ten minutes in the utterly hostile environment of a lightweight car. biggrin

Maybe Lotus could tap that market with lightweight CF coffins?

7795

493 posts

113 months

Thursday 9th August
quotequote all
Volvo S90 Carlton on the way...

This is a good thing for Lotus. Serious investment is long overdue!! Just to get them out of this same car, new version, special edition groundhog day they have been in for the last 20 years.

A Lotus SUV on a Volvo chassis, why not?!

JMF894

2,544 posts

87 months

Thursday 9th August
quotequote all
DBRacingGod said:
Great opening pic, posing outside the Hethel factory.
biggrin

Seriously with Geely's track record with Volvo this could be very good news indeed. I must pay the factory a visit, especially as it's only around 15 miles away......................

Onehp

512 posts

215 months

Thursday 9th August
quotequote all
Despite rumours to the opposite, modern cars are getting lighter at least technologically seen. Otherwise with all the safety, comfort and kit and ever growing size, cars would weigh 500kg more on average if no advances were made in material and production tech. A fairly barren, not too big Evora S is 1500kg (weighed by the same standard as any other normal car). Don't expect Lotus SUV's to be magically massively lighter...

I like the estate idea, to that I would like to add that there is a space for cars that are simplified in their purpose and set up with a driver focus. No fancy expensive chassis tech or mega power necessary, just a car with a dynamic chassis balance, feelsome steering, immediate (throttle) and well weighted response from the other controls also, and a pleasing aural feedback. And somehow package that so that people really want it...

Edited by Onehp on Thursday 9th August 19:55

Cold

4,751 posts

22 months

Thursday 9th August
quotequote all
JMF894 said:
Seriously with Geely's track record with Volvo this could be very good news indeed. I must pay the factory a visit, especially as it's only around 15 miles away......................
You should wait a little while. Perhaps leave your planned visit until the end of September.

https://www.lotus70.com/ (Website goes live midday tomorrow.)

DonkeyApple

30,438 posts

101 months

Thursday 9th August
quotequote all
Onehp said:
Despite rumours to the opposite, modern cars are getting lighter at least technologically seen. Otherwise with all the safety, comfort and kit and ever growing size, cars would weigh 500kg more on average if no advances were made in material and production tech. A fairly barren, not too big Evora S is 1500kg (weighed by the same standard as any other normal car). Don't expect Lotus SUV's to be magically massively lighter...


Edited by Onehp on Thursday 9th August 19:55
Agree. The Evora doesn’t seem to be any lighter than the Cayman. In the world of sports cars many people have become better at playing the Lotus cars than Lotus have. They’ve downsized engines, used clever engineering, removed a lot of weight, applied excellent handling and because they own the finance houses and control the used values they are cheaper.

But the SUV segment does still have a huge amount of fat in it as most a built as mobile life support systems for fat, lazy and weak people who require hundreds of heavy motors to help them do anything more complex and taxing than breathing. wink

Lotus won’t ever do it but I would love to see a super light SUV, focussed on B road use. Smaller engine with a simplified drivetrain and the bare minimum of life support systems and pile warmers.

saaby93

23,104 posts

110 months

Thursday 9th August
quotequote all
JMF894 said:
DBRacingGod said:
Great opening pic, posing outside the Hethel factory.
biggrin
laugh

The Wookie

11,463 posts

160 months

Thursday 9th August
quotequote all
British Beef said:
I visited the Lotus factory in Norfolk just 2 weeks ago, very interesting and well worth a visit.

They are already bulding a huge new facility on the site, and additional investment for the next generation of cars can only be fantastic news for the brand, employees and us car enthusiasts, even if it includes an SUV to help payback that investment!
If the new facility was off to the left of the test track after you come out of the pits then that was actually kicked off in the Bahar era and has sat partially built since then!

I do hope it works out for Lotus though, hopefully they get the right people are in there running it so the clever guys on the ground can do their stuff

Onehp

512 posts

215 months

Thursday 9th August
quotequote all
DonkeyApple said:
Agree. The Evora doesn’t seem to be any lighter than the Cayman. In the world of sports cars many people have become better at playing the Lotus cars than Lotus have. They’ve downsized engines, used clever engineering, removed a lot of weight, applied excellent handling and because they own the finance houses and control the used values they are cheaper.

But the SUV segment does still have a huge amount of fat in it as most a built as mobile life support systems for fat, lazy and weak people who require hundreds of heavy motors to help them do anything more complex and taxing than breathing. wink

Lotus won’t ever do it but I would love to see a super light SUV, focussed on B road use. Smaller engine with a simplified drivetrain and the bare minimum of life support systems and pile warmers.
VAG to beat here. The Golf sized T-roc with 2.0tsi with less power than it could have is sub 1500kg if you stay out of the options list. Pretty impressive when a XC40 T5 is close to 1800kg and a XC60 T5 is 2100kg+...

RyanOPlasty

539 posts

140 months

Thursday 9th August
quotequote all
Lotus said:
creating a new design centre in Coventry,
Hmmm. they tried that in 1998, it didn't last long....

DonkeyApple

30,438 posts

101 months

Thursday 9th August
quotequote all
You have to feel a bit sorry for Gales who passionately busted his balls on a huge turd sandwich to deliver some great cars, pull the business back together and keep it from failing to have been disposed of as part of the long term plan to invest properly in Lotus.

I wonder if he was binned because he disagreed with the proposed new products?

Kermit74

27 posts

32 months

Friday 10th August
quotequote all
This is good news. Hopefully the products they put out will fit the Lotus ethos.
On another note I'd love to see a proper Team Lotus back in F1 ( not the branded Enstone / Caterham effort as before)

Wayoftheflower

318 posts

167 months

Friday 10th August
quotequote all
DonkeyApple said:
You have to feel a bit sorry for Gales who passionately busted his balls on a huge turd sandwich to deliver some great cars, pull the business back together and keep it from failing to have been disposed of as part of the long term plan to invest properly in Lotus.

I wonder if he was binned because he disagreed with the proposed new products?
Is that the same Gales who after decimating the engineering and product development departments released nothing but bodykits and sticker packs for three years?

He was there to make the books look good enough to lure a new investor and lucked out when Geely wanted control of Proton and Lotus was part of the bigger deal.

His accomplishments total less than that of caretaker Aslam Farikullah, a rare skill.