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China’s Geely Buys Controlling Stake in Lotus, Proton

Parent of Volvo plans to revive both struggling operations.

by on May.24, 2017

Lotus hopes the new Evora 400 will help put it back on the map after a series of disasters.

China’s ambitious Zhejiang Geely, already the owner of Volvo Cars, is expanding its automotive portfolio with the acquisition of a controlling share of Britain’s Lotus and Malaysia’s Proton.

The announcement forestalls the bidding war some had forecast for Lotus, the specialty car manufacturer that has run into a devastating series of setbacks in recent years. Proton has had its own challenges, its once dominant share of the Malaysian market collapsing due to cheap import competition.

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Geely is expected to pump significant capital into its two new subsidiaries, much as it has done for Volvo, which it acquired from Ford Motor Co. in 2012. The Swedish brand has gone through a complete makeover since then, winning kudos for new products and experiencing a sharp upturn in sales after a long slump.

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Lotus on the Block Again? Geely’s Sniffing Around.

Lotus could be split from Proton in large sale.

by on Feb.20, 2017

Even as it develops new products, like the 3-Eleven, Lotus appears to be ripe to be sold, perhaps to Geely.

Poor Lotus. It almost seems like no one wants to keep the legendary British sports car maker. The company has been in and out of trouble for at least the past five years and new reports suggest it may be on the block again.

Published reports suggest that current owner, DRB-Hicom, is considering selling the company to Geely Automobile Holdings Ltd.

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DRB-Hicom owns Proton Holdings, the Malaysian automaker, which is part of the firm’s automotive holdings, all of which – including Lotus – are being shopped as a bloc. (more…)

Lotus Amping Up the Sports Car Game with New 3-Eleven

Brits promise their fastest road car ever.

by on Jun.26, 2015

Lotus unveiled the new 3-Eleven in time for the Goodwood Festival of Speed in England.

It might not be a winning roll of the dice in Las Vegas, but Group Lotus is betting big on the new 3-Eleven it’s unveiling at the Goodwood Festival of Speed today.

With its distinctively minimalist windshield and extremely long nose, the long-struggling British maker claims the new model will be its fastest production road car ever. Actually, there will be two versions produced, one for the street, another for the track.

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“We always say that to make a sports car better, you make it faster and lighter. The new Lotus 3-Eleven carries that philosophy to a new level, and is perfectly in keeping with our brand values,” said Jean-Marc Gales, chief executive officer for Group Lotus plc, during a presentation at the annual Goodwood event. (more…)

Lotus Readying a New Model

Sport-ute, sedan would mirror efforts from Porsche

by on Mar.10, 2015

Lotus CEO Jean-Marc Gales has the company is taking a common sense approach to recovery, which now likely includes an SUV.

Less than a year ago senior leaders at Lotus were scrambling to determine if the British sports car maker could keep going. What a difference a few months makes; now they’re trying to decide if they should add a sedan or a sport-utility.

“I’m a bit torn between an SUV and a four-door sports car – but in the end I can see that the SUV has the bigger market,” Lotus CEO Jean-Marc Gales told Reuters. “We’d do an SUV that is very light, very fast on the track and has outstanding handling.”

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Regardless of the choice, it sounds like Porsche could be in line for some competition for the Panamera, Cayenne or Macan, which is exactly where Gales drew his inspiration from for the new product plan last fall. (more…)

Struggling Lotus Unveils New Evora 400

British maker bills it as its fastest model ever.

by on Feb.18, 2015

Lotus hopes the new Evora 400 will help put it back on the map after a series of disasters.

Struggling Lotus has lately sounded a lot like Mark Twain, repeatedly insisting that reports of its demise have been greatly exaggerated, despite plenty of reason for concern, including management shake-ups and the collapse of an ambitious, and ultimately unrealistic, product development program.

But Lotus is showing at least some signs of life, the latest coming with the unveiling of its all-new, mid-engine Evora 400. The latest update of the Evora line is more than just a cosmetic update, insists the maker which is based in Hethel, Norfolk. It claims that “over two-thirds” of the Lotus Evora 400 is new, including its supercharged 3.5-liter V-6.

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“The Evora 400 is the fastest road-going Lotus that we have ever produced, possessing performance that can only be matched by cars costing significantly more,” boasted Group Lotus Chief Executive Officer Jean-Marc Gales. “It delivers supercar looks allied to supercar performance.”

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Lotus Taking New Approach to Growth: Practicality

New chief Gales pushes pragmatic approach to recovery.

by on Nov.26, 2014

Lotus recently celebrated its 1,000th car earlier this month. The company is taking a common sense approach to recovery.

The ongoing saga of Lotus is taking on a new twist: practicality.

It wasn’t long ago that the specialty carmaker boasted about plans to introduce several new models. However, the company has fallen on difficult financial times and seen a change at the top with Jean-Marc Gales taking over for the brash and confident Dany Bahar.

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In a departure from Bahar’s grand plan of multiple new models, Gales is prescribing a dose of pragmatism to help guide the company out of its tough times. Earlier this year, Lotus said it was going to cut as much as 25% of its global workforce as it figured out what to do next. (more…)

Lotus Plans to Make Evora US-Compliant in 2016

Maker upgrading sports car to meet airbag regulations.

by on Sep.25, 2014

The Lotus Evora will be available for U.S. buyers despite reports to the contrary ... in 2016.

Lotus aficionados in the U.S. can now dry their tears: the English sports car maker will be offering a new version of the Evora after all: in 2016.

Not only is a new model coming, there were be more dealers selling them when it arrives, according to Jean-Marc Gales, chief executive officer of Group Lotus plc.

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“I know that this will be welcome news to our thousands of owners and fans in North America, but the reality is that there was never any intention to leave,” he said in a statement. (more…)

Lotus Likely to End US Sales of Evora in December

Maker suffers second setback due to airbag issue

by on Sep.23, 2014

Lotus is likely to end U.S. sales of its street-legal Evora coupe after 2014.

The struggles of legendary sports car manufacturer Lotus don’t appear to be ending any time soon as it appears the company will end sales of its only street-legal car in the U.S., the Evora, at the end of the year.

The news follows last week’s announcement the automaker is considering terminating 25% of its workforce around the world. The company, which makes the Elise, Evora and Exige sports cars, is launching a 45-day “consultation process.”

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However, the company’s financial difficulties may have trickled down to impact the company’s ability to sell vehicles in the U.S., well, at least ones that you can drive to the corner store for a gallon of milk. (more…)

Lotus Mulls Cutting a Quarter of its Workforce

Maker enters 45-day consultation period to develop a plan.

by on Sep.18, 2014

The Lotus Evora 4414 plug-in got the nod of approval from the auto engineering world, but that wasn't enough to keep it from financial issues.

Just four years ago, the future for Lotus appeared bright with plans for a burgeoning product portfolio bolstered by enthusiastic management; however, those efforts appear to have failed as the company plans to cut as much as a quarter of its workforce.

The company announced plans today to reorganize the company and terminate as many as 325 of its 1,215 employees worldwide. Part of the restructuring will see the company trying to do more with less as a result of the job losses.

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“We understand the concerns that this proposal will create,” said Jean-Marc Gales, chief executive officer of Group Lotus, in a statement. “We deeply regret the potential impact any reshaping of the business may have on our employees and their families. (more…)

Tesla’s Musk Buys 007’s Lotus Sub Car – Now Plans to Make it Really Work

Hopes to make a childhood fantasy real.

by on Oct.18, 2013

One of the more creative Bond cars was a Lotus Esprit that could transform instantly into a submarine.

Movie memorabilia can collect some steep premiums these days, so few were surprised when a mystery buyer shelled out close to $1 million for the Lotus-based submarine from the 1970s-era James Bond film, “The Spy Who Loved Me.”

But the real surprise turns out to be who bought that movie prop – and why.  Turns out it was Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk who snapped up the Lotus body for $989,000 at an RM Auction in London last month.  As to why? Musk has confirmed plans to actually turn the prop into a real, working sub car.  And, in case you haven’t already guessed, his goal is to use a Tesla electric drivetrain.

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“It was amazing as a little kid in South Africa to watch James Bond in The Spy Who Loved Me drive his Lotus Esprit off a pier, press a button and have it transform into a submarine underwater,” Musk confirmed in an e-mail to newspaper USA Today. “I was disappointed to learn that it can’t actually transform. What I’m going to do is upgrade it with a Tesla electric powertrain and try to make it transform for real.”

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