What's Lotus Going to Look Like Under Geely's Ownership?
There has been some gentle complaining among select individuals that Chinese ownership will somehow taint the purity of the Lotus brand — a strange accusation considering the brand was operating under the Malaysia-based Proton Holdings since 1997 long before being bought by Geely Automotive earlier this year.
Sure, it might not be the Lotus of yesterday but the company’s new Chinese overwatch has said it still has big plans for the brand. Based on its handling of London Taxi and Volvo, we haven’t been overly concerned. But we have been hoping the parent company would elaborate on what that might entail.
According to a recent interview Autocar had with Geely President An Cong Hui, Lotus may undergo a return to form (of sorts) in the years to come. “We are making plans; we want to bring back the heritage of Lotus to be one of the top performers in the luxury sports car segment,” he explained. “Lotus used to be ranked alongside Ferrari and Porsche, so we need to come back in that rank again.”
However, things have changed quite a bit over the last decade. Porsche’s best-selling model is a sport utility vehicle and Ferrari is planning on building one of its own — so Lotus will probably need to do the same. Likely based upon the Compact Modular Architecture that underpins Volvo’s XC40 and Lynk & Co’s 01, the Lotus SUV will be optimized for performance but no one at Geely has said anything even remotely official. All we really know is that “something” is in the works.
Lotus will also continue producing pure-bred sports cars and, if the brand’s British leadership has its way, those units will continue being built in the United Kingdom. However, a new car has to be in the works. Lotus’ newest model, the Evora, has been in production since 2010 while the oldest in the current lineup, the Elise, has been around since 1996.
While the Evora still gets heaps of praise from the enthusiast community, it’s not a hot property anymore. The brand will need something fresh to challenge its rivals with eventually and, with new capital coming from China, it’s only a matter of time.
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