Lotus was founded in 1952 and currently has its headquarters in the town of Hethel. The company's history is dotted with financial trouble. Despite this, Lotus enjoys a cult following in the UK. Lotus Engineering Ltd. was founded by Colin Chapman and Colin Dare.
The first manufacturing plant was in an old stable, behind the Railway Hotel, in North London. Team Lotus, the legendary Formula 1 team active between 1958 and 1994, was actually split off from Lotus Engineering in 1954.
Since 1966, Lotus has occupied a modern factory and testing facility in Hethel. The site is the former RAF Hethel base, and the test track uses sections of the old runway. Lotus specializes in the production of sports cars well-known for their combination of lightweight and performance.
The current owner of the company is the Chinese car company Geely, which acquired a 51% stake in 2017.
Lotus was previously owned by the Malaysian-based car manufacturer Proton, which bought it following a 1996 bankruptcy.