Volvo owner to purchase 49% of Malaysian car maker and take majority control of Lotus

Geely, the owner of Volvo, will take control of Lotus and a 49.9% stake in Malaysian car maker Proton.

The Chinese company has agreed to buy the stake in the loss-making Proton from its parent company DRB-Hicom. As well as a controlling share of Proton, Geely will buy a 51% majority stake in British sports car firm Lotus. DRB-Hicom will retain 50.1% of Proton and will look to sell its remaining stake in Lotus. The definitive agreement is expected to be completed in July.

Proton has owned a majority stake in Lotus, based near Norwich, since 1996. Lotus turned a profit for the first time in its history late last year.

The deal will give Proton access to Geely's powertrains and platforms, while giving Geely increased access to the South East Asian market. In a statement, Geely said the deal will also allow synergies in research and development, manufacturing and market presence. The agreement comes following a long string of speculation, rumours and denials. The PSA Group had also been in the running to buy Proton.

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Donghui Li, the executive vice-president of Geely Holding Group, said: “With Proton and Lotus joining the Geely Group portfolio of brands we strengthen our global footprint and develop a beachhead in South East Asia.

“Geely Holding is full of confidence for the future of Proton. We will fully respect the brand’s history and culture to restore Proton to its former glory with the support of Geely’s innovative technology and management resources.

“Reflecting our experience accumulated through Volvo Cars' revitalisation, we also aim to unleash the full potential of Lotus Cars and bring it into a new phase of development by expanding and accelerating the rolling out of new products and technologies.”

DRB-Hicom’s group managing director, Syed Faisal Albar, said: “Our intention was always to ensure the revitalisation of the Proton nameplate. This deal will be the catalyst to elevate a brand that Malaysians resonate with.”

Geely was founded in the Zhejiang province of China in 1986, originally as a refrigerator manufacturer. The firm's expansion into automotive products began with motorbikes before it started producing cars in 2002. Geely Automobiles has a major presence in the Chinese car market, with the firm expanding internationally after buying Volvo from Ford in 2010. Geely also purchased The London Taxi Company (LTC) in 2012.

Read more: 

Lotus could be bought by Geely with PSA Group taking over Proton

Lotus: Proton sale "changes nothing"

PSA confirms Vauxhall and Opel deal

Proton sale decision expected imminently

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Comments
21

23 May 2017
Geely may soon own Lotus partially or completely, but let it not go unsaid that Proton took good care of Lotus for the last two decades. In fact, it was under Proton ownership that Lotus finally turned profitable for the first time in its 60+ year existence.

Had it not been for Bahar, Lotus may have turned profitable much sooner even. Jean-Marc Gales has done a fantastic job thus far. Sure, Proton could have done more for Lotus, but they've done more for Lotus than BMW has for Rover, that's for damn sure.

Ultimately, the survival and prosperity of Lotus is what matters, and a growing company like Geely will be able to provide the funds needed for Lotus to grow even further in the coming years.

Goodspeed and best of luck to all.

23 May 2017
Aero wrote:

Geely may soon own Lotus partially or completely, but let it not go unsaid that Proton took good care of Lotus for the last two decades. In fact, it was under Proton ownership that Lotus finally turned profitable for the first time in its 60+ year existence.

Had it not been for Bahar, Lotus may have turned profitable much sooner even. Jean-Marc Gales has done a fantastic job thus far. Sure, Proton could have done more for Lotus, but they've done more for Lotus than BMW has for Rover, that's for damn sure.

Ultimately, the survival and prosperity of Lotus is what matters, and a growing company like Geely will be able to provide the funds needed for Lotus to grow even further in the coming years.

Goodspeed and best of luck to all.

The new Elise is 3 years away which is an eternity - would anyone even be bothered by then? And being inevitably heavier, the current Toyota engines are not going to cut the mustard. They have their work cut out for them.

23 May 2017
This deal has dragged on forever. I can't imagine Lotus will be much of a priority for Geely, especially with just a 49% stake, as they're products are very much a niche which is unlikely to grow much in the future

24 May 2017
The 49% share is in DRB thingie. The Chinese have bought majority control of Lotus.

24 May 2017
I wrote my comment before the majority control of Lotus bit was announced!

23 May 2017
engines, electrics, and dare i say it- electric steering. j

23 May 2017
jl4069 wrote:

engines, electrics, and dare i say it- electric steering. j

I was about to say about Volvo supplying engines. Do lotus do power steering? I thought they were generally unassisted racks

23 May 2017
considering how long the elise has been around for already, another 3 years isn't really much of an issue. do you actually think it's a bad car? the evora keeps getting lighter, so why would a new eiise automatically be heavier?
imagine you run geely, and are looking for a small in-house engineering and tuning arm who can get your cars' steering and suspension designed and set up better than anyone else in the industry, as well as doing engine work and other general cleverness, and turning in some money from selling its own vehicles, wouldn't lotus look quite appealing?
proton made the same mistake as gm; buy lotus, do 1 thing, and then fall asleep. careless really. i mean, why did decent-to-drive protons start and stop with the gti? gm; what did they ask lotus to do with the corvette? handling and ride? naaaaa, just tweak the engine. set up any sports cars? just the carlton, thanks. absolutely crazy.

24 May 2017
...The spelling in the opening sentence is dreadful…Come on Jimi use your spell checker please.

24 May 2017
I think Volvos 4 cylinder 2.0l 362hp super/turbo engine would sit very well in an Elise.

It pushes the s60 to 60mph in 4.5secs.

In an Elise weighing less than half that of a s60, the performance would be explosive.

Just saying.

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