All signs point to a Lotus renaissance as Geely takes majority stake from Proton

For the longest time, Lotus seemed like the most under-utilized car company in the industry. At the very least, it ranks high on the list of automakers that have failed to live up to its potential. Fortunately, things are now taking a turn for the better for the beleaguered British automaker as Hong Kong-based automaker Geely acquires a 51-percent share in Lotus from its parent company, Proton.

In addition to the 51-percent stake in Lotus, Geely is also acquiring a 49.9 percent stake in Proton itself from the company’s parent firm, Malaysian conglomerate DRB-Hicom. The movement of all these chess pieces means Lotus is free from its struggling past ownership and under the watchful eye of Geely, the fledgling Chinese automaker responsible for reviving Volvo. Geely’s assumed goal to do the same for Lotus, which is largely credited for introducing some of the best handling, lightweight sports cars back in its heyday. It’s been a while since Lotus was a relevant name in the auto industry, but with Geely now in charge, there’s a lot of optimism in the air.

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Just like that, there’s an air of excitement surrounding Lotus

On the surface, Geely’s acquisition of Lotus is everything we’ve been waiting for. No offense to DRB-Hicom and Proton, but Lotus wasn’t going anywhere if it remained stuck in that mud. At best, it could roll out a few models here and there, but nothing to the extent of turning Lotus into a legitimate contender in the sports car segment. So thankfully, Lotus is now moving on from its misery and into the waiting arms of a new majority owner that has proven itself to be up-to-the-task in resurrecting struggling marquees.

Geely’s acquisition of Lotus is everything we’ve been waiting for.

It goes without saying, what Geely has done with Volvo is nothing short of impressive. The Swedish automaker was once mired in a similar position as Lotus, but since Geely bought Volvo, it’s been on a massive reinvention tour that has the whole industry (and more importantly, consumers) taking notice.

Note: The Volvo S60 shown above was the first Chinese-built Volvo to hit U.S. Shores under the Geely umbrella

The hope now is that Geely can do for Lotus what it’s been doing now for Volvo.

The hope now is that Geely can do for Lotus what it’s been doing now for Volvo. There are no guarantees the Chinese automaker can pull it off, but it does have the finances to do it that Lotus’ previous owner simply did not. It also helps that Geely now has an automotive infrastructure in place that can explore joint synergies in research and development, as well as manufacturing, and market presence – three important factors that can help with Lotus’ renaissance.

I don’t see this process happening overnight because Lotus needs to be reinvented in some ways to rid it of the problems that plagued the brand when it was under Proton ownership. That’s not going to happen at a snap of a finger. It’s going to take some time and resources to clear the table for Lotus before any talk of a new future happens. That said, my confidence is a lot higher now than it ever was before.
I have faith that with Geely’s resources and the blueprint it created to bringing Volvo back from its own doldrums, it can do the same for Lotus.

We could be on the verge of seeing models like the Elise and Exige developed to maximize their full potential.

In the event that it does happen (and I really, really want it to happen) we could be on the verge of seeing models like the Elise and Exige developed to maximize their full potential. Considering how Lotus has always excelled in developing lightweight sports cars regardless of its ownership, the thought of having an automaker that can actually back Lotus up financially is pretty darn exciting.

Like everyone else, I’m hoping Geely can go two-for-two with its automotive purchases. Let us know what you think in the comments below.

Lotus Exige Sport 380 Gallery

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