New Lotus owner Geely is planning a £1.5 billion-plus (Rs 13,245 crore) investment in the brand, in its attempt to push the small British manufacturer into the big leagues of sports car production.
Geely’s plan includes increasing its 51 percent stake in Lotus, which would mean buying more from Malaysian co-owner Etika Automotive.
A new design centre in Coventry is planned for Lotus, as is growth of the brand’s Hethel headquarters, with 200 new engineers due to be hired. After this, another Midlands-based plant will handle the expanded production as the brand grows.
This is in addition to a new factory in China that the brand would use to cater for demand in the Far East. Geely boss Li Shufu reiterated the brand’s commitment to the UK, though, saying: "This is just like what we have done with the London Taxi Company: engineer in Britain, design in Britain and built in Britain. We see no reason to move fifty years of combined experience to China; let them do what they do best, in Britain.”
Geely stated in an email to Bloomberg that it is “fully committed to restoring Lotus into being a leading global luxury brand". It’s thought that the firm has the likes of Porsche in its sights for Lotus’s new market position. The brand's first move into Porsche-like territory will be an SUV, due in 2020.
Li's plan to turn his company into a major global player is one of the industry’s most aggressive; shortly after acquiring Lotus and a 49.9 percent stake in parent company Proton, Geely spent £6.4 billion (Rs 56,528 crore) acquiring almost 10 percent of Mercedes-Benz's parent company, Daimler, becoming its largest single shareholder.