|Type||Private (Majority owned by Proton)|
|Headquarters||Hethel, Norfolk, England|
|Key people||Colin Chapman
Michael J Kimberley
Syed Zainal Abidin
|Products||Automobiles, Automotive parts|
Lotus Cars is a British manufacturer of sports and racing cars based at Hethel, Norfolk, England. The company designs and builds race and production automobiles of light weight and high handling characteristics.
The company was formed as Lotus Engineering Ltd. by engineer Colin Chapman, a graduate of University College, London, in 1952. The first factory was in old stables behind the Railway Hotel in Hornsey, North London. Team Lotus, which was split off from Lotus Engineering in 1954, was active and competitive in Formula One racing from 1958 to 1994. The Lotus Group of Companies was formed in 1959. This was made up of Lotus Cars Limited and Lotus Components Limited which focused on road cars and customer competition car production respectively. Lotus Components Limited became Lotus Racing Limited in 1971 but the newly renamed entity ceased operation in the same year.
The company moved to a purpose built factory at Cheshunt in 1959  and since 1966 the company has occupied a modern factory and road test facility at Hethel, near Wymondham. This site is the former RAF Hethel base and the test track uses sections of the old runway.
Chapman died of a heart attack in 1982 at the age of 54, having begun life an innkeeper's son and ended a multi-millionaire industrialist in post-war Britain. The car maker built tens of thousands of successful racing and road cars and won the Formula One World Championship seven times. At the time of his death he was linked with the DeLorean scandal over the use of government subsidies for the production of the DeLorean DMC-12 for which Lotus had designed the chassis.
In 1986, the company was bought by General Motors. On 27 August, 1993, GM sold the company, for £30 million, to A.C.B.N. Holdings S.A. of Luxembourg, a company controlled by Italian businessman Romano Artioli, who also owned Bugatti Automobili SpA. In 1996, a majority share in Lotus was sold to Perusahaan Otomobil Nasional Bhd (Proton), a Malaysian car company listed on the Kuala Lumpur Stock Exchange.
The company also acts as an engineering consultancy, providing engineering development—particularly of suspension—for other car manufacturers. The lesser known Powertrain department is responsible for the design and development of the 4-cylinder Ecotec engine found in many of GM's Vauxhall, Opel, Saab, Chevrolet and Saturn cars. Today, the current Lotus Elise and Exige models use the 1.8L VVTL-i I4 from Toyota's late Celica GT-S and the Matrix XRS.
The company is organised as Group Lotus, which is divided into Lotus Cars and Lotus Engineering.
Michael Kimberley took over as Acting Chief Executive Officer of the Company and its Group from May 2006. He currently chairs the Executive Committee of Lotus Group International Limited ("LGIL") established in February 2006, with Syed Zainal Abidin (Managing Director of Proton Holdings Berhad) and Badrul Feisal (non-executive director of Proton Holdings Berhad). LGIL is the holding company of Lotus Group Plc.
Kimberley retired as CEO on 17 July 2009and was replaced as CEO by Dany T Bahar on 1 October 2009. Bahar was formerly Senior Vice President, Commercial & Brand for Ferrari SpA where he was responsible for worldwide road car sales and after sales business, overall road car and F1 marketing activities, licensing, and merchandising business.
The company encouraged its customers to race its cars, and itself entered Formula One as a team in 1958. A Lotus Formula One car driven by Stirling Moss won the marque's first Grand Prix in 1960 at Monaco in a Lotus 18 entered by privateer Rob Walker. Major success came in 1963 with the Lotus 25, which — with Jim Clark driving — won Lotus its first F1 World Constructors Championship. Clark's untimely death — he crashed a Formula Two Lotus 48 in April 1968 after his rear tyre failed in a turn in Hockenheim — was a severe blow to the team and to Formula One. He was the dominant driver in the dominant car and remains an inseparable part of Lotus' early years. That year's championship was won by Clark's teammate, Graham Hill.
Lotus is credited with making the mid-engined layout popular for IndyCars, developing the first monocoque Formula One chassis, and the integration of the engine and transaxle as chassis components. Lotus was also among the pioneers in Formula One in adding wings and shaping the undersurface of the car to create downforce, as well as the first to move radiators to the sides in the car to aid in aerodynamic performance, and inventing active suspension.
Even after Chapman's death, until the late 1980s, Lotus continued to be a major player in Formula One. Ayrton Senna drove for the team from 1985 to 1987, winning twice in each year and achieving 17 pole positions. However, by the company's last Formula One race in 1994, the cars were no longer competitive. Lotus won a total of 79 Grand Prix races. During his lifetime Chapman saw Lotus beat Ferrari as the first team to achieve 50 Grand Prix victories, despite Ferrari having won their first nine years sooner.
Team Lotus established Classic Team Lotus in 1992, as the Works historic motorsport activity. Classic Team Lotus continues to maintain Lotus F1 cars and run them in the FIA Historic Formula One Championship and it preserves the Team Lotus archive and Works Collection of cars, under the management of Colin Chapman’s son, Clive.
Lotus (under the name Lotus F1 Team will take up the 13th spot on the grid in the 2010 Formula One Championship. The new team is unrelated to the previous incarnation of Team Lotus, although it is funded by a Malaysian Consortium including Proton (the owner of Lotus Cars), and has legal rights to use the the Team Lotus name.
Lotus Engineering Limited, is an offshoot of Lotus Cars, which engineer cars for third party companies. Examples are shown here:-
In 2000, Lotus Engineering, Inc. was established in the US with Ann Arbor, MI as its headquarters.
Whereas the VVA technology will be used in the creation of a new mid-engined sportscar for Lotus cars, the APX is in fact a high performance 7 seat MPV with four-wheel drive and a front mounted V6 engine from Lotus Engineering's Powertrain division. The engine was designed and developed to be available as a 2.2 litre N/A and 3.0 litre supercharged. A number of prototypes of both engines exist in full working order in a number of mule cars.
Versatile Vehicle Architecture (VVA) is an effort by the Lotus car manufacturing company to reduce the investment needed for producing unique, niche-market cars by sharing a number of common components.
Cars produced using VVA:
Lotus Engineering has established a group dedicated to hybrid and electric vehicles.
Lotus plans to enter the electric vehicle race, CEO Michael Kimberley told the Financial Times . "Don’t be surprised to see an electric Lotus shortly,” he said, adding that a concept version could debut as early as March 2009, at Geneva Motor Show. Lotus is now front and center in the electric-car arena.
Lotus did not reveal details about the car or the engine but discloses that it will go for 300 to 400 miles (640 km) and it will really live up to the expectations of being one of the best electric cars in the world.
Lotus joined Jaguar Cars and Caparo on a luxury hybrid executive sedan project called "Limo-Green"--funded by the UK Government Technology Strategy Board. The vehicle will be a series plug-in hybrid.
Tesla Motors, a likely rival for Lotus if its plans go through, has also turned to contractors for parts of the all-electric Roadster. Of note however, is the fact that Tesla currently obtains the chassis for their Roadster from Lotus as do Dodge for their EV because of the heavy weight of the batteries in an EV and Lotus's widely known low weight and sharp handling characteristics. While only 10% of the parts of the Tesla Roadster are shared with the Lotus Elise, Lotus is responsible for approximately 40% of the overall content of the car.
|The British car industry – companies & marques|
|Rolls-Royce||Rolls-Royce Limited||Rolls-Royce Limited & Bentley||Rolls-Royce Motors||Rolls-Royce Motors (Vickers)||BMW & VW Group||BMW|
|Armstrong Siddeley||Siddeley-Deasy||Armstrong Whitworth||Armstrong Siddeley||Bristol Siddeley||Rolls-Royce Limited||Rolls-Royce plc|
|Aston Martin||Aston Martin||Aston Martin Lagonda||PAG (Ford)||Aston Martin Lagonda|
|Rover||Rover||Rover||Rover||Austin Rover Group
Land Rover Group (BL plc)
|Rover Group (BAe)||Rover Group
|MG & Rover (BMW)|
|Land Rover||PAG (Ford)|
|Standard||Standard||Standard Triumph||Leyland Motors||British Motor Heritage|
|MG||Morris Garages (MG)||Rover Group
|MG Rover Group (Phoenix)||SAIC
|Vanden Plas||Vanden Plas|
|Austin-Healey||Austin (BMC) & Donald Healey|
|Jensen||Jensen Motors||Britcar Holdings||Jensen Cars|
|AC||AC Cars (several ownership & company name changes)|
|Bristol Cars||Bristol Cars|
|Gordon-Keeble||Peerless & Warwick||Gordon-Keeble|
|Lotus||Lotus||General Motors Europe||Proton|
|Westfield||Westfield||Potenza Sports Cars|
|Vauxhall||Vauxhall Motors||General Motors||General Motors Europe|
|Hillman||Hillman||Humber||Rootes||Chrysler Europe (Chrysler)||Peugeot (PSA)|
|Sunbeam||Sunbeam||Sunbeam-Talbot-Darracq||Rootes||(as Sunbeam-Talbot) Rootes||Rootes|
|Lotus production car timeline, 1950–present|
|Sports Racer||Mark VIII||Mark IX||Eleven||15||17||19||23||30||40|
|Saloon||Elan +2||Elite II|
|Grand Tourer||Europa||Esprit||Europa S|
|Race Cars||Mark I · Mark II · Mark III · Mark IV · Mark V · 12 · 16 · 17 · 18 · 20 · 21 · 22 · 24 · 25 · 27 · 29 · 31 · 32 · 33 · 34 · 38 · 39 · 41 · 42 · 43 · 44 · 48 · 49 · 56 · 59 · 61 · 63 · 64 · 69 · 70 · 72 · 73 · 74 · 76 · 77 · 78 · 79 · 80 · 81 · 86 · 87 · 88 · 91 · 92 · 93T · 94T · 95T · 96T · 97T · 98T · 99T · 100T · 101 · 102 · 107 · 109 · 112 · 115 · 119 · T127|
|Related Cars||Caterham Seven · Ford Lotus Cortina · Talbot Sunbeam Lotus · DeLorean DMC-12 · Isuzu Piazza · Chevrolet Corvette ZR-1 · Vauxhall Lotus Carlton · Kia Elan · Vauxhall VX220 · Tesla Roadster|
|Concept Cars||M90 · APX|
|Key Figures||Colin Chapman · Tony Rudd · Michael Kimberley · Romano Artioli|
|Group Lotus||Official Website · Lotus Cars · Lotus Engineering · Team Lotus|