A car to suit everyone’s tastes

Over the last few years, Geely, the Chinese multinational automotive manufacturing company, has quietly and efficiently been acquiring a number of the big global car manufacturers as part of its plan to become one of the world’s leading automotive companies. 

It started back in August 2010, when Geely paid USD 1.8bn for Volvo. This was followed by the acquisition of Lotus, the iconic British car maker, in 2017, and the firm also took a 49.9 per cent stake in Proton cars in the same year. This year has seen Geely become the largest single shareholder in Germany’s Daimler via two separate deals carried out on consecutive days. These deals have attracted the attention of German policy makers, but not in a positive way. Throw in the acquisition of the company that builds the world-recognised London black cabs, Manganese Bronze, and two electric car manufacturers, US-based Emerald Automotive and China-based Nighai Zhidou, and you have a company that either owns outright or has a stake in companies which could provide the most indecisive of car purchasers with a complete range of different cars to choose from. (And if you think there are people who wouldn’t buy a London black cab to drive around in, think again!)

Therefore, it’s interesting to see the speculation that the company is about to invest significantly into Lotus to turn it into a brand that can compete with Porsche and Ferrari. The Lotus brand was established back in the early 1950s and became a car that true petrolheads aspired to own, initially sold as a kit car to save on purchase tax, but becoming a fully manufactured car in the 1970s in an attempt to capitalise on the more luxury car market. The company lost its way a bit after the death of its founder Colin Chapman in 1982 and passed through a number of ownership changes until being acquired by Geely in 2017.

If Geely were to be able to transform the Lotus brand from an iconic petrolhead’s object of desire to a luxury brand rivalling the likes of Ferrari and Porsche, then this would be quite a journey!

 

Filed under: cars, China, deals, M&A, UK, automotive