Geely, the Chinese automaker has announced it will buy a 51% stake in Lotus from the Malaysia based Proton Holdings and it will also become a stakeholder of that company too. Geely means “auspicious” in Mandarin Chinese and we all hope that they will live up to their name and provide Lotus with some much needed funding.
Lotus has had a rough time over the years bouncing between owners and CEOs, some with grand plans and others with more sensible ideas to keep the company afloat and profitable. One thing that you can say about Lotus is that they are still a world leader in technology and have made some cash over the years doing contract work for various other manufacturers. With news that some Governments plan to ban petrol and diesel cars within 25 years, Lotus is already well advanced in some of their technologies.
Geely has been on the acquisition trail for a few years now and is a “newbie” in the automotive industry. The company was only founded in the late 1980s as a white goods manufacturer before buying a badly run state-owned motorcycle manufacturer. Their entry into 4 wheeled vehicles was only in 2002.
In 2010, they hit the big time buying Volvo and in 2013 they completed the full acquisition of Manganese Bronze, the owner of the London Taxi company. Now those famous black cabs are shipped from China to the UK as complete knockdown kits to be assembled (like a Meccano kit) for the market in London.
Earlier this month (July), Geely also announced it was buying Terrafugia, an American flying car company. I wonder if we will see electric flying cars soon as Lotus have been working for a while on electric powered drivetrains – a possible flow on from helping Tesla and Detroit Electric with their cars.