8/9/2018 | 1 MINUTE READ

Geely Mulls New Lotus Facilities

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China’s Zhejiang Geely Holding Group, which purchased a controlling stake in Group Louts plc last year, reportedly may invest $1.9 billion to help jumpstart the struggling British nameplate.

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China’s Zhejiang Geely Holding Group, which purchased a controlling stake in Group Lotus plc last year, may invest £1.5 billion ($1.9 billion) to help jumpstart the struggling British nameplate.

Sources tell Bloomberg News that Geely is considering new production and technical facilities for Lotus. Geely also is in talks to increase its stake in Lotus, according to the report. Etika Automotive, a privately held Malaysian auto distributor, owns the remaining 49% of Lotus.

The first phase of the proposed plan would be to expand Lotus’ existing Hethel, England, plant and adding 200 engineers there. A second assembly plant and a design and innovation center in England also are said to be under consideration.

Geely and Etika declined to comment. But Geely previously has indicated a new Lotus design studio in the U.K. was in the works.

Geely acquired 51% of Lotus from Malaysian carmaker Proton Holdings Bhd in 2017 at the same time it bought 49.9% of Proton from DRB-Hicom. The latter is a Malaysian conglomerate controlled by Syed Mokhtar Al-Bukhary, who also owns Etika.

Following the acquisitions, Geely Chairman Li Shufu vowed to revive the Proton and Lotus brands by investing in new technologies, product development and manufacturing facilities. Earlier this year Lotus said it intends to introduce two new sports cars in 2020 and add a crossover model in 2022.