what does the longer term maintain for Lotus?

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How will Lotus’s vehicles of immediately evolve beneath Geely’s stewardship?
With Lotus having appointed a brand new CEO, Matt Prior discusses what lies forward for the British model

Excellent news out of Lotus, of the sort that I believe we must always get used to within the quick time period: a brand new hiring.

It takes much less time to place individuals in place than it does vehicles into manufacturing, even beneath the stewardship of an organization like Lotus’s Geely mum or dad, which has lately reworked Volvo.

Geely has simply appointed Phil Popham (previously of Jaguar Land Rover and latterly of Sunseeker) as CEO of Lotus Sports activities Vehicles and senior vice chairman for industrial operations of Group Lotus.

If Geely’s plan with Lotus goes something prefer it did with Volvo, which it took over in 2010, issues will go a bit quiet barring bulletins like this one. After which – growth – the mannequin introduction will begin. Volvo’s XC90 solely went into manufacturing late in 2014 however, when a brand new V40 arrives subsequent 12 months, it’ll be the oldest automotive in a nine-model line-up.

Popham’s appointment prompted some dialogue amongst my colleagues: do individuals, other than individuals like us, know what a Lotus really is nowadays? It has been so lengthy because it received an F1 world title or James Bond drove an Esprit that you just wonder if within the wider world individuals know what Lotus, which has been turning out brilliant-handling light-weight sports activities vehicles however for not sufficient cash and in not sufficient portions, really stands for?

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Earlier this 12 months, Geely’s tackle the place the agency was going was this: “Geely is totally dedicated to restoring Lotus into being a number one international luxurious model,” although it makes you surprise when, if ever, it actually was one.

I reckon anybody with the mildest of curiosity in vehicles has obtained a sound sufficient thought of what Lotus is: should you’ve heard of the corporate, you’ll comprehend it makes sports activities vehicles. That’s sufficient, isn’t it?

So it’s in steel, fairly than questioning what the model stands for, the place my curiosity lies: the model’s picture will mould to mirror no matter sort of automotive it makes. If it makes good vehicles, individuals will purchase them, and the model takes care of itself.

I’m extra intrigued about what these vehicles shall be powered by. Lotus wants a sports activities automotive structure, seemingly of its personal to underpin its future sports activities vehicles and, presumably, one other Volvo-based one for SUVs.

However Volvo engines will solely get it to this point, given it doesn’t make any engines with greater than 4 cylinders or 2.zero litres. And as everyone knows, Lotus makes sports activities vehicles. And a few sports activities vehicles need extra oomph than that.

Absolutely there’ll come a degree the place Lotus is sufficiently big that Toyota shall be disinclined – particularly given it likes making its personal sports activities vehicles once more – to maintain supplying it engines, even when Lotus wished to maintain shopping for them; which, presumably, it will desire to not.

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Which may imply pure electrical or hybrid electrical energy, though that doesn’t at all times equate to lightness and tremendous journey high quality, core themes of Lotus till now. Or has anyone tried the JLV-6G35 three.5-litre engine from the Geely Borui? Is there one, proper now, on a rig in Norfolk, in preparation for being dropped into the center of a brand new two-seat sports activities automotive?

I suppose we’ll discover out. And within the meantime, you’ll must put up with individuals like me banging on about it for one more three years.

Learn extra

Lotus proprietor Geely plans SUV and vehicles to rival Ferrari

Lotus SUV to make use of Volvo underpinnings and have class-leading dealing with

Geely plans £1.5 billion funding in Lotus


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