There once was a time (let’s just say in the 1960s) that Lotus and Porsche were fairly equivalent in the automotive world. Both small, both making nimble sports cars. If you wanted a German car, you got a Porsche, and if you wanted a good car, you got a Lotus. That time is long gone, but now Lotus is flush with Chinese money, and that’s going to change things.
Geely, the Chinese automaker, bought Lotus back in May. “LOTUS IS SAVED,” we declared at the time, because frankly, it was. Lotus has been doing this weird sort of zombie-shuffle for decades now, fueled by a dearth of funds and weird management decisions. What it needed was a seemingly unlimited budget and the freedom to explore what a truly good Lotus could be, but the idea that someone would actually give Lotus that was nuts.
And then Geely stepped in. Geely, who applied exactly the same recipe to Volvo, which has since absolutely flourished.
Apparently, though, there’s more to come. Autocar got the chance to speak to Geely’s head honcho at a recent event, and they’re making big noises (emphasis mine):
Beyond SUV plans, Geely is determined to keep Lotus making sports cars, and also sees strong growth potential in the brand. At the launch of the Lynk&Co 01 in China last week, Geely boss An Cong Hui said he was keen to emphasise how important his new subsidiary is. “We are making plans; we want to bring back the heritage of Lotus to be one of the top performers in the luxury sports car segment,” he said. “Lotus used to be ranked alongside Ferrari and Porsche, so we need to come back in that rank again.”
Of course, this isn’t the first time we’ve heard this sort of thing. Back in that really weird period when it was run by a guy named Dany Behar, there were all sorts of grandiose plans that never came to fruition. Lotus would build fatter cars. It would build its own engines and gearboxes. It would sell a convertible whatever-the-hell-this-was-supposed-to-be.
And all those plans are Well and Good, if you’ve got the money and wherewithal to pay for them, which Lotus didn’t. But Geely does, and if anyone has those two ingredients to make it happen, it’s Geely.
So it looks like the old Lotus is truly dead. Long live the new Lotus. May you be able to truly have a hard time deciding between a Lotus and a Porsche again.