With the money of Geely and the technology of Volvo, Lotus will move upmarket.
Lotus is already working on its first-ever SUV, which is planned to materialize in 2022, and the project should be pioneering for the British automaker and crucial for its future. It will position the Norfolk-based manufacturer in the league of the luxury car makers, according to a new report.
Now owned by the Chinese automotive giant Geely, Lotus has the resources to create a more luxurious and premium sport utility vehicle than before. The company also has access to Volvo technologies, which should help the development process a lot.
“The question is where Lotus can be positioned in the market, where it is today and where the competition might be,” Peter Horbury, Geely's design boss, hinted the direction Lotus will take as a marque. “China is a huge market for more luxury, more expensive cars, so that’s a possibility. SUVs were never on the agenda at Porsche until someone dared to suggest to the board it might be a good idea. Where would they be today if they hadn’t?"
Lotus will work to make its SUV “a lot lighter” than competitor models, but, of course, “it’s never going to be as light as an Evora,” as Horbury points out. Actually, the new model will mark the beginning of an SUV offensive, which will include more offerings in the near future.
“We’ve already mentioned SUVs are coming and we need a lot of resources in a fairly swift amount of time," Horbury told Autocar during the Beijing Auto Show.
As part of Lotus’ expansion, the company will build a new factory located in Coventry, the United Kingdom. In fact, the facility was already on the agenda before the deal with Geely, but the acquisition further cemented the decision to construct it. The Chinese automaker is also investing in a new design center in the same town, where Lotus’ SUV model will be created.