[YesAuto News] According to foreign media reports, Geely Group is considering investing at least US$1.9 billion to revitalize Lotus Cars and plans to build a factory and R&D center in the UK. Another person familiar with the matter said that Geely is negotiating with its Malaysian partner Etika Automotive Sdn Bhd to increase its stake in Lotus Motors. Geely currently holds a 51% stake.
In the first phase of the investment, Lotus Motors will expand its plant in Hethel, Norfolk, UK, and employ more than 200 engineers. Then, Geely will build a second factory in the United Kingdom, the site may be selected in the West Midlands area, and the R&D center may be located in Coventry.
Regarding this investment, outsiders commented that Li Shufu wanted to build Geely into a car company with Toyota and Volkswagen as its main competitors. According to Li Shufu, Geely hopes to build Lotus into a luxury brand that competes with Porsche and Ferrari.
In 2010, Geely acquired the passenger car business of the Volvo Group and helped it turn losses into profits. In June 2017, Geely acquired parts of Proton Auto and Lotus Auto, including 49.9% of Proton and 51% of Lotus. In February 2018, Geely became the largest shareholder of German luxury car manufacturer Daimler, acquiring 9.69% of its shares.
Feng Qingfeng, CEO of Lotus Motors, revealed in an interview that the development direction of Lotus Motors is to not only provide products for niche consumers, but also to provide products to mass consumers. Lotus’s positioning will be higher than that of Porsche. Will maintain the high-performance gene of Lotus.
Feng Qingfeng said that Lotus plans to introduce its first model to China in October 2018 and unveil its ultra-luxury coupe at the 2019 Shanghai Auto Show. From a long-term development perspective, Lotus will also develop in the direction of hybrid and electric vehicles. (Source: Reuters; Compiler/Car Home Xiao Ying)