Lotus cars is a British manufacturer of sports cars as well as racing cars, founded in 1952 by engineers Colin Chapman and Colin Dare. The company also owns Lotus Engineering with facilities in the UK, US, Malaysia and China.
The company began as Lotus Engineering Ltd., in 1952 with the first factory behind the Railway Hotel in Hornsey, North London. In 1954, Team Lotus split from Lotus Engineering and competed in Formula One racing from 1958 to 1994.
In 1959 Lotus Cars Limited and Lotus Components Limited were formed to produce road cars and customers competition cars respectively. Lotus Components became Lotus Racing Limited in 1971 but stopped operations the same year.
The company was in financial trouble by 1980 and production of vehicles dropped from 1,200 to 383 per year. Early 1982, Chapman and Toyota agreed to develop the Mk2 Toyota Supra, aka Toyota Celica XX. This partnership also allowed the Lotus Excel to be built (replacing the Eclat), using Toyota parts. Because of this the Excel could be sold for less than the Eclat.
Later in 1982, Chapman died of a heart attack. Lotus had built tens of thousands of cars, amassing millions of dollars and winning seven Formula One World Championships.
However, by 1983, Lotus was near bankrupt due to a scandal linked with DeLorean Motor Company. The Inland Revenue inspectors had imposed a “protective assessment” of the company and all of its assets.
David Wickins negotiated with Inland Revenue, acquired investors and oversaw the turnaround of Lotus. In January 1986, he sold the group companies as well as the sale of North American LPCI to General Motors (GM).
In August of 1993, GM sold the company to A.C.B.N. Holdings S.A. In 1996, the majority of Lotus was sold to Proton, a Malaysian car company.
Michael Kimberley became Acting CEO in May 2006 and Lotus Group International Limited which was established in February 2006. Kimberley retired in July 2009 and was replaced by Dany Bahar former VP for Commercial & Brand at Ferrari.
Bahar was suspended on May 25 2012 while an investigation into his conduct was carried out. Bahar was replaced by Aslam Farikullah on June 7, 2012.
Lotus has manufactured well over 125 different models of road legal and Formula One race cars, as well as a few electric models.
Image Caption: Lotus Evora. Credit: Brian Snelson/Wikipedia (CC BY-SA 2.0)