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Geely revs up Lotus revival plans: Bloomberg
Posted on Friday, 10 August 2018 11:58
Iconic British sports and racing car brand Lotus is on track for a GBP 1.50 billion investment to bankroll the expansion of an existing production plant and the addition of a new factory and design and innovation centre, Bloomberg reported.
Sources with knowledge of the situation told the news provider that owner Zhejiang Geely Holding is planning to hire 200 engineers at the current facility in Hethel, Norfolk before setting up another location in the UK, possibly in the West Midlands.
When contacted by Bloomberg for clarification, the Chinese automotive group, which became the largest backer of Volvo last month, told Bloomberg via an email that it “is fully committed to restoring Lotus into being a leading luxury brand”.
Furthermore, it confirmed plans to establish a new design and innovation centre in Coventry, but declined to give further details.
According to Bloomberg’s sources, Geely is also considering increasing its 51.0 per cent stake in Lotus and has entered into discussions with Malaysian partner Etika Automotive, which owns the 49.0 per cent balance.
The two acquired the indirect equity in Lotus’ immediate parent undertaking, Lotus Advanced Technologies, in September 2017 from Proton Holdings for GBP 100.00 million in cash.
In a concurrent agreement, Geely bought 49.0 per cent of this Malaysian automobile subsidiary of DRB-Hicom, which is controlled by Syed Mokhtar Al-Bukhary, who, incidentally, also owns Etika.
Lotus is known for being the manufacturer of high performance and lightweight sports cars, with models such as Evora, Exige, Elise and 3-Eleven.
In June, while announcing management changes at the majority-owned subsidiary, Geely noted the UK business sold 1,600 automobiles in 2017, representing a 10.0 per cent increase on 2016, and also showed a profit for the first time in history.
A billion-plus investment would certainly go some way towards pushing the brand into the big leagues by having the fire power to produce premium crossovers, such as sports utility vehicles, to rival the likes of Porsche.
© Zephus Ltd