‘Why should we be excited about Lotus? One word: Geely’

With an electric hypercar and a 911 rival on the way, Steve Fowler thinks the future of Lotus looks bright under Geely’s leadership

Opinion - Lotus

Lotus has always had a special place in my heart – as it has for many car fans. A 1990 Lotus Elan SE once sat on my driveway – and still sits on my wall – and I’ve hankered after another Elan ever since (although prices seem to be rising fast).

It’s fair to say that Lotus has built some of the finest-handling cars we’ve ever driven – and it still does. But it’s a brand that has never fulfilled its true promise and never had the investment that, I’ve always felt, could propel it to real and sustained superstar levels.

New Lotus sports car to arrive in 2020

So why am I so excited about Lotus now and how can you be convinced that this isn’t just another dose of dewy-eyed romanticism? One word: Geely.

The Chinese giant now owns 51 per cent of the British company – the biggest bonus of its buy-in to Proton, Lotus’s previous owner and the last in a line of potential great saviours. Just to remind you, Geely also owns Volvo – and it’s done a pretty good job there – as well as up-and-coming Lynk & Co and Polestar, plus LEVC, which makes the all-electric London taxi and is about to launch into the growing commercial vehicle sector. Oh, and Geely has just announced a new, global electric car brand: Geometry.

Geely is busy doing two things with Lotus. Most importantly, it’s investing in the right management team to come up with a sustainable plan and implement it. Then it’s providing these people with the cash to do it – just as it has done, so successfully, with Volvo.

The company is now led by Phil Popham, formerly boss of Land Rover, who also did a fine job transforming luxury yacht business Sunseeker. Now he’s got to transform Lotus into a proper luxury sports car maker. It starts with news of a multi-million-pound all-electric hypercar, but it’s the whispers of a hybrid 911 rival next year that are most exciting. Let’s hope this is the beginning of a Lotus story we’ve wanted to tell for years.

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