Li Shufu, the Chinese billionaire who purchased Volvo from Ford and oversaw the company’s successful resurgence seems to have acquired a taste for turning around car brands. I say that because he’s just acquired another storied, troubled, European car brand to turn back from the brink of extinction: Lotus.
That’s the same Lotus whose versatile chassis launched both Tesla Motors and Detroit Electric (to name just two). The same Lotus, too, that brought Kimi Raikkonen back to the top step of an F1 podium a few years back (before reverting back to Renault ownership, anyway). We’re big fans.
Being big fans, it was big news when Li’s Geely Holding Group announced, yesterday, that it would buy a 51 percent stake in Lotus Cars. For Geely, the brand could act as a prestigious “halo” brand to help grow the company’s eponymous core products. “Like Volkswagen has Porsche and Toyota has its Lexus,” explains Tian Yongqiu, an independent auto consultant who tracks Chinese car maker acquisitions.
Li Shufu Now Owns Both Volvo and Lotus
Lotus has a history of using other car makers’ engines in its lightweight sports cars. If that history is a guide, we could see a featherweight Elise or Evora model powered by Volvo’s super-efficient, twin-charged T6 engine in the near future. There’s even talk of an ultra-sporty SUV coming hot on the heels of Geely’s expected cash injection into the British car brand. Could it be based on the all-new Volvo XC60? Should it be based on the new XC60?
Let us know what you think of Geely’s new acquisition- and whether or not you think Lotus and Volvo will make good partners in an eco-friendly- in the comments section at the bottom of the page.