Lotus’ formidable turnaround plans embrace an all-but-inevitable efficiency SUV



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    Lotus has revealed plans for 2 new sports activities automobiles which can be set to reach in 2020. They’re the primary fashions introduced because the U.Okay. automaker was purchased by China’s Zhejiang Geely Holding Group final yr. Lotus has additionally began work on its first SUV, CEO Jean-Marc Gales instructed Automotive Information Europe. He stated the SUV would arrive one to 2 years after the sports activities automobiles.

    Lotus hasn’t launched a brand new automobile because the Evora went into manufacturing in 2009. The corporate has additionally didn’t file a revenue in recent times as consumers switched from sports activities automobiles to crossovers and SUVs. Gales declined to supply many particulars concerning the new fashions, however stated one of many sports activities automobiles would substitute a present member of Lotus’s vary.

    Lotus builds the entry Elise, the track-focused Exige and the Evora, a rival for the Porsche 911. It additionally makes the Three-11, a roofless monitor automobile with supercar ranges of efficiency.

    “We’re very assured we are able to launch these sports activities automobiles in two years and beat the competitors the place we need to beat them,” Gales stated. “We are going to by no means be No. 1 in baggage area, however we will probably be in dealing with.”

    One of many two automobiles will use an up to date model of an current bonded-aluminum platform, whereas the dearer mannequin will use a brand new carbon-fiber ‘tub’ round which the automobile will probably be constructed. This automobile is probably going be positioned above the Evora and will probably be geared toward prospects wanting a extra excessive driving expertise. Gales stated will probably be closest to the Three-11, however highway authorized. “It is going to be one thing comparable however rather more civilized, as a result of the Three-11 is fairly uncooked,” he stated.

    To assist develop the 2 sports activities automobiles and the SUV, Lotus will rent 300 new folks this yr. They are going to work at its base in Norfolk, japanese England. The enlargement would increase Lotus to 1,100 workers, which is near the 1,215 the corporate had when Gales joined in 2014. Gales, the previous head of manufacturers at PSA Group, minimize 325 folks as a part of an effectivity drive to stem losses at Lotus, which was then owned by Malaysia’s DRB-Hicom.

    Gales stated the corporate was cash-flow constructive final yr with revenues up 24 p.c to greater than 100 million kilos ($142 million). He predicted the agency can be worthwhile in 2018.

    The brand new fashions will assist push Lotus towards its long-stated purpose of promoting Three,000 automobiles a yr, Gales stated. Final yr Lotus offered 1,600 automobiles globally, up 13 p.c on the yr earlier than. The SUV would finally take the corporate past 10,000 gross sales, Gales predicted.

    The brand new sports activities automobiles will probably be in-built England whereas the SUV would probably be in-built China and one different location. “I can think about two locations worldwide and I might love one to be within the UK, however there are various issues we have to talk about,” Gales stated, referring to Britain’s pending exit from the EU. “Brexit casts a shadow over all the pieces.”

    Geely purchased 51 p.c of Lotus final yr and on the similar time bought a 49 p.c stake in Proton, owned by DRB-Hicom. Geely additionally owns the London Electrical Car Firm (LEVC), which makes taxis, in addition to Volvo Automobiles. Geely will make investments “hundreds of thousands” to improve Lotus’s manufacturing amenities, Gales stated, with out offering an actual determine. The manufacturing facility was final upgraded in 2009 for the beginning of Evora manufacturing.

    Lotus goals so as to add 2 new sports activities automobiles, SUV inside four years” initially appeared on Automotive Information.

    By Nick Gibbs at Automotive Information


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