Lotus Cars is a British manufacturer of sports cars and racing cars based in East Anglia, and formed as Lotus Engineering Ltd. by the engineer Colin Chapman in 1952. The Company's first factory was in old stables behind the Railway Hotel in Hornsea. Lotus was active and competitive in Formula One racing from 1958 to 1994. Since the 1960s the Company occupies a modern factory and road test facility at Hethel, near Norwich.
Chapman died of a heart attack in 1982, at the age of 54, having begun life an innkeepers son and ended a multi-millionaire industrialist in post-war Britain; whilst building tens of thousands of successful racing and road cars, and winning the Formula One World Championship seven times.
In 1986 the company was bought by General Motors. On August 27, 1993, GM sold the company for £30 million to ACBN 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), the state-owned Malaysian car company.
The company also acts as an engineering consultancy, performing development, particularly of suspension, for other car manufacturers.
As of 2005, the Malaysian company Proton organized Lotus as Group Lotus divided into Lotus Cars and Lotus Engineering. A Formula One team is in the works according to rumour.