Geely plans £1.5bn Lotus investment


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.

P.H. O'meter

Join the PH rating wars with your marks out of 10 for the article (Your ratings will be shown in your profile if you have one!)

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 6
  • 7
  • 8
  • 9
  • 10
Rate this article

Comments (74) Join the discussion on the forum

  • Global Nomad 09 Aug 2018

    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 09 Aug 2018

    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 09 Aug 2018

    Where or wear ???

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

  • Black S2K 09 Aug 2018

    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 09 Aug 2018

    Great opening pic, posing outside the Hethel factory.

View all comments in the forums Make a comment