BACKGROUND: A brief history of Lotus Cars

The famous Lotus name was formed by engineer Colin Chapman in 1952 as Lotus Engineering Ltd.

His first factory was in Hornsey, North London, but the firm moved from the capital to Hethel, near Wymondham in 1966 on the site of a former second world war airfield.

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 and created iconic cars such as the Elise and Esprit.

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.

The car maker built tens of thousands of successful racing and road cars and won the Formula One World Championship seven times.

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.

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In 1996, a majority share in Lotus was sold to 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 company is organised as Group Lotus plc, 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.

Kimberley retired in 2009 and was replaced as CEO by Dany Bahar. Bahar was formerly Senior Vice President, Commercial and Brand for Ferrari and has led Lotus on the path to an ambitious expansion project with a host of new models.

The company was successful with a �10m Regional Growth Fund application from the government last year to expand its Hethel site.