This article is from the Lotus Cars FAQ, by email@example.com (Alan F. Perry) with numerous contributions by others.
Actually, this depends on what you mean by "Lotus". Here is a history
of the various Lotus companies.
In 1952, the Lotus Engineering Company was formed as a partnership
between Colin Chapman and Michael Allen.
Later, in 1952, the partnership broke up and the Lotus Engineering
Company became a trade name for Colin Chapman.
In 1953, the Lotus Engineering Company Limited, a limited company,
was formed with Colin Chapman and Hazel Williams (later Chapman) as
Team Lotus split off in 1954 and eventually became Team Lotus
International Limited. In late 1990, Team Lotus Limited, run by
Peter Collins and Peter Wright, purchased the Team Lotus name and
operated the Team until late 1994 when it went into administration
and was later purchased by David Hunt under the name Team Lotus
Grand Prix Limited. Hunt's organization entered into a joint
operations agreement with Pacific Grand Prix to form Pacific Team
In 1994, the Chapman family formed Classic Team Lotus to support
owners of single-seater, open wheel Lotuses through the Type 102.
In 1959, the Lotus Group of Companies was formed and consisted of
Lotus Cars Limited (road cars) and Lotus Components Limited
(customer competition cars).
In 1969, Lotus became a publicly held company as the Group Lotus Car
Companies Limited, consisting of Lotus Cars Limited, Lotus Cars
(Service) Limited, Lotus Cars (Sales) Limited and Lotus Components
In 1971, Lotus Components Limited became Lotus Racing Limited and
subsequently ceased operation in the same year.
In 1973, Lotus stopped making the Lotus Seven and sold its right
to Caterham Cars Ltd, which start making the Caterham Seven in
1974 and continues doing so.
In 1980, Lotus Engineering was formed to sell Lotus' Engineering
expertise to other companies.
In 1986, General Motors acquired all shares of Group Lotus.
There was a rumor that one of the companies in Group Lotus' portfolio
is called "Team Lotus" and that when GM purchased Lotus, they thought
they were getting the Formula One team as well. According to Patrick
Peal this is not true, although GM did talk to Hazel Chapman about
buying Team Lotus at one point.
In 1993, the Bugatti Group acquired Group Lotus from GM. GM still
owns the Millbrook testing facility, though.
It has been announced that the 21 Invest group (a joint venture
between the financial operations of the Benetton and Bonomi families
of Italy) will purchase Lotus from Bugatti. This deal has not yet