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Lotus is one of the most storied names in the automotive world.
Since 1952, the company has been applying founder Colin Chapman’s maxim “simplify, then add lightness” to the car; along the way it has built spectacularly successful racing cars and sublime road cars. Yet despite those four-wheeled creations, times haven’t been easy for the company.
Following Chapman’s untimely death in 1982, it has changed ownership several times—most recently in 1996 to Malaysia’s Proton—each with the promise of renewed investment, which often failed to materialize.
That’s why the announcement on Wednesday that the Lotus is being bought by China’s Geely should be greeted as such good news.
Geely is buying 49.9 percent of Proton from DRB-Hicom.
And as part of the deal, Geely also gets 51 percent of Lotus.
As stated, this isn’t the first time Lotus has had a new corporate owner; at one time it was owned by General Motors, at another the same businessman who revived Bugatti Cars in the 1990s.
So we can forgive any skepticism about this latest transfer of control.
But one only need look at Volvo’s renaissance under Geely to see plenty of cause for optimism.
Geely has been pumping hundreds of millions of dollars into the Swedish car company since buying it from Ford in 2010, money that Volvo has used to develop a new cutting-edge vehicle architecture resulting in some rather fine vehicles.
The prospect of that kind of investment in Lotus is mouth-watering.
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