So it’s now official; Geely own Lotus. A majority stake sale now means that Geely own 51% of the company, while Malaysian company Etika owns the remainder. Geely bought the controlling share for $100 million, which means they now control both Lotus Engineering and Lotus Cars.
Overall though, there shouldn’t be any major concerns for Lotus as a brand, as Geely are hardly inexperienced in the owning and managing of marque brands, having taken control of Volvo in 2010 and the London Taxi Company more recently in 2013. Indeed, Geely arguably saved our iconic black cabs from a damaging nosedive, as the cab maker Manganese Bronze had fallen into administration the previous October.
As for Volvo, the company has seemingly continued to thrive unabated since the handover benefitting from an £11 billion investment that has helped to develop new technologies and engines. Volvo remains at the forefront of autonomous/driverless technology.
So is the potential is now there for platform sharing between Volvo and Lotus? Well cast your minds back to 2015 when Lotus revealed the idea of a lightweight SUV concept mooted to (possibly) see the light of day in China by 2020. Meanwhile, last year Volvo revealed the new CMA platform geared towards developing EV technology and providing a base for the company’s forthcoming c-segment vehicles. At the time, Volvo was also keen to impress that the CMA (Compact Modular Architecture) platform enabled the potential of all sorts of versatile body stiles. An injection of cash from Geely into Lotus could make an SUV on a CMA platform a possibility.
Currently, Lotus has its traditional manufacturing base in Hethel in the UK, but it is no secret that Geely has looked into the possibility of future manufacturing – or at least part of it – being based in China, where they have established production lines. Nothing to worry about yet though, as it would be remiss of a savvy company not to look into all the options and possibilities with its new acquisition.
As for control in the UK, Jean-Marc Gales will remain the CEO of Lotus and he will work with a new 5-strong board of management, which will consist of 3 individuals from Geely Holding and 2 from Etika. Under this new structure, Geely has also appointed their Executive Vice President, Daniel Donghui Li, as Chairman of the Lotus Board.