The Geely takeover of Lotus Cars is complete and the British sports car manufacturer has big plans to expand its portfolio and its production facilities.
A few weeks ago, Chinese auto giant Geely completed its takeover of the majority stakes at Lotus Cars. The Zhejiang Geely Holding Group holds 51% of shares now and the remaining 49% is with Etika Automotive. Jean-Marc Gales got to keep his seat as the CEO of the company while a new Board of Directors was formed with Geely and Etika Automotive representatives.
While earlier rumors did indicate that all Lotus vehicles will continue to be made exclusively at the brand’s Norfolk facility in the UK, the CEO has hinted at the new company owner’s plans to expand Lotus production facilities to locations outside the United Kingdom. Speaking to Autocar, Jean-Marc Gales said,
"We stay in the UK for sports cars, what we do for other cars needs defining."
The Lotus Cars brand so far has been associated with sports cars. With a new owner like Geely, which likes to see all the car brands under its umbrella diversify and evolve with times, it’s only natural to see Lotus Cars adding new types of vehicles to its brochure. As everyone from Rolls-Royce to Lamborghini is into creating SUVs and crossovers, even the British sports car manufacturer wouldn’t diving into that pond to catch some fish.
Lotus Cars sold 1500 units last year and the first quarter of 2017 registered a 10% improvement in sales compared to last year.
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He goes on to elaborate on that part by saying,
"We will always have sports cars, but we’re looking at other segments. The SUV market changes as well – it’s not just cars that are six feet high and wide now, it’s a huge market that’s becoming more segmented. There is a niche within that for a Lotus crossover that is light and aerodynamic and handles like nothing else. We’re working on it. The new board needs to pass it, but the future is very bright."
The new-generation models will start coming in from 2021 and a shared platform is being built, on which the next-generation Exige, Elise and Evora will be based. With the marketing push and financial might of Geely to power up and spread Lotus operations to more locations, it won’t be long before it catches up with bigger brands like Porsche.
So far, things are looking bright for Lotus Cars. The best news is of course, the prospect of seeing some brand-new stuff from them folks at Norfolk.