Lotus is “contemplating all areas”British agency’s boss says it’s going to increase its vary – however the precedence is to re-establish sports activities automotive credentials
Lotus might construct GTs, sports activities saloons, crossovers or SUVs in future, in response to new boss Phil Popham – however solely after it has re-established its credentials as a sports activities automotive agency.
Earlier this 12 months, Lotus revealed plans for an electrical hypercar, codenamed Sort 130, in addition to indicating it was making ready to launch a brand new sports activities automotive forward of renewing the Elise, Exige and Evora.
The renewal of the sports activities automotive line is a part of a five-year programme kick-started by Popham’s arrival following the corporate’s acquisition by Chinese language large Geely. Nevertheless, Popham has additionally indicated the model will increase outdoors its conventional fashions in time.
“There’s lots of speak about an SUV, however we haven’t confirmed that,” stated Popham, talking on the FT Way forward for the Automobile Summit. “We’re rebuilding the enterprise round sports activities automobiles and that’s the precedence however we do imagine that when that’s executed, this model has the DNA and heritage to go additional.
“That might imply GTs, crossovers, SUVs, sporting saloons – or absolutely anything else. The plans are open and we’ll have a look at each potential space in a really detailed manner, contemplating all areas.”
Lotus has lengthy been assessing its SUV plans, with Autocar beforehand revealing that the agency’s earlier administration began a venture that will use components of the SPA construction utilized by Geely and Volvo.
Popham additionally outlined his view that electrification, connectivity and autonomy could be a possibility for Lotus, regardless of its deal with driving dynamics.
“By way of autonomy, I see our automobiles having the aptitude, and our house owners utilizing that within the metropolis earlier than hitting the ‘Lotus’ button on a rustic highway or monitor and taking management – maybe assisted by that very same expertise to succeed in absolutely the limits,” he stated.
“Electrification brings challenges and alternatives. In time, I don’t suppose individuals will discover the lack of the engine noise – for us, it’s in regards to the automotive’s dynamics. Electrical automobiles supply a low centre of gravity, due to the place the batteries are positioned, and the aerodynamics aren’t constrained by the mechanical components.”
Describing Lotus as a “70-year-old start-up”, Popham highlighted that regardless of its present funding – estimated to be in extra of £1.5 billion – and recruitment drive, it remained agile in contrast with rivals. He declined to declare initiatives for gross sales to justify the funding, however conceded Geely had focused a long-term technique.
“In the present day we’re a 1700 gross sales a 12 months agency, and it’s clear we will’t be funded for the longer term by these gross sales,” he stated. “We’ve got to take a leap – we have now to develop exponentially. A part of that may come from China, and Geely’s possession will help with that, however we need to America and Europe with simply as a lot focus.”
All-new Lotus mannequin due subsequent 12 months
Unique particulars: Lotus confirmed Sort 130 electrical hypercar
Lotus SUV would have Volvo underpinnings and class-leading dealing with (from 2018)