Lotus eyes up IPO to supercharge production
Iconic British car maker Lotus is heading towards a multi-billion pound floatation as it readies to open a new production plant in China and targets 100,000 sales a year by 2030.
Geely, the Chinese motoring giant which controls Norfolk-based Lotus, has begun courting international investors for the firm which could lead to an IPO as early as next year.
Bosses at Geely are said to favour floating the firm in Shanghai, but have reportedly not ruled out New York and London as potential destinations, The Times reported.
Lotus is laying out plans to transform from a loss-making brand loved by sports car aficionados into a mainstream motoring brand. The firm now plans to open a manufacturing plant in Wuhan next year where it will begin building the first Lotus 4×4, an all-electric vehicle, and a zero-emission executive car, the Times reported.
Russell Carr, chief designer, told The Times the firm planned to shake up the iconic feel of Lotus to tempt in buyers.
He said: “We have to be different. We have to be remarkable. We need to produce cars that grab people by the heart because that way it makes the wallet jump out of the pocket.”
The Wuhan-based plant will significantly build on the manufacturing capacity of Lotus’s factory in Hethel in the Norfolk countryside, which produced 1,700 cars last year.
Lotus is now targeting an output of 10,000 cars from the Hethel plant while the Wuhan factory is expected to produce around 90,000.
The move comes as the latest major investment injection from Geely which took control of Lotus in 2017. Geely pledged £1.5bn to overhaul the company and turn it into a “lifestyle vehicle” brand focusing on all-electric vehicles.
Geely’s move to float Lotus follows a similar shakeup at Volvo, which floated last year at a valuation of £13bn.