Things have now been set in stone: DRB-Hicom is officially out of the sports car game and plans to channel all their focus and resources to the turnaround plan for national carmaker Proton Holdings Sdn Bhd.
Geely is now the majority shareholder (51 percent) of famed British sports carmaker, Group Lotus (Lotus Cars). The other 49 percent was sold to Etika Automotive Sdn Bhd, a company owned by tycoon Syed Mokhtar Al-Bukhary who also happens to own the controlling stake in DRB-Hicom (Proton’s parent company).
At the signing ceremony, Li Shufu, Chairman of Zhejiang Geely Holding Group (ZGH) said he aims to fully release the potential and brand appeal of Lotus. Both Proton and Lotus will create synergies for ZGH to be positioned as a major player in the ASEAN region, which will in turn help the company achieve its vision of selling 3 million cars by 2020.
In 2016, ZGH sold 2.1 million units of cars through their modest portfolio of auto brands Geely, Volvo and London Taxi Company. With Proton now as its strategic partner, Geely can fully utilise Proton’s Tanjung Malim production facility (which has an annual production capacity of 400,000 units or more) to build right-hand drive Volvo and Geely cars.
If Geely can emulate the success they’ve created for Volvo Cars, then Lotus’ future seems brighter than they have ever been. In fact, just how will this acquisition benefit Volvo, London Taxi Co, Geely and Proton cars from this point on? Guess we’ll have to let time do its thing.