Started in 1952 as Lotus Engineering by Colin Chapman and Colin Dare, the company has been involved heavily in motor sports including Formula One, contracted automotive engineering and road cars.
After the death of Chapman in 1982, the company flirted with bankruptcy before passing through a number of hands, including Toyota, GM and Italian businessman Romano Artioli. The company is now part of the Malaysia industrial conglomerate DRB-Hicom, which also owns the Proton brand.
Why is the Lotus car company named after a plant?
Colin Chapman named his car company after an Ancient Greek legend about the lotus eaters. In those stories a North African island had an abundance of lotus plants and the people living there primarily subsisted on lotus flowers and fruits. These lotus plants were a narcotic, causing people to sleep peacefully and, according to the Odyssey, they were also so delicious that they made the eater not want to return home to reality. By Chapman's reasoning his cars were like that lotus plant, a powerful drug that will make you want to forsake all other vehicles. The lotus (or lotos) referred to by the Ancient Greeks is commonly thought of as either the water lily, the nettle tree or a Ziziphus lotus.