Lotus has secured a major investment from Zhejiang Geely Group. While traditionalists might have spurned the advancements of a foreign investor, Lotus is thanking its lucky stars as they hope to expand and increase production after several tough years.
Zhejiang Geely Group is owned by billionaire Li Shufu and also operates Volvo Cars, London Black Cabs, and Geely Cars. One of the few private automakers in China, Geely has proven an astute handler of their foreign assets. They allow Volvo to operate independently and provided the capital that enabled the company’s successful reinvention as a luxury marque. Shufu’s latest deal will see Geely take a 51 percent controlling stake in Lotus for an estimated $65 million.
The investment in Lotus comes at a time where the company finally seems to be getting its legs back under them. The manufacturer has started to see customer demand move in the right direction with an estimated 30 cars per month moving through dealerships. While this number isn’t exactly going to set any records, the reality is that the company was barely able to sell 10 cars a month for the last few years. The company has seen its share of controversy and drama over the years including nasty lawsuits from former employees, bad investments, and car plants that sit idle and rusting.
So why has the company secured foreign investment now? Well, Lotus has been at the core of the electric vehicle revolution since day one, and most will be surprised to know that they engineered and built the very first Tesla Roadster on the Lotus Elise platform. The company sees the Chinese investment as crucial as it looks to survive any “Brexit” downturn after the United Kingdom exits the European Union. Geely could provide the money necessary for segment development and growth if Lotus is going to capitalize on the crossover craze. Shufu, on the other hand, has acquired a second globally renowned marque that provides access to a new customer base and a top-notch engineering team. For now, the deal seems like a win-win for Lotus and Geely.