Lotus to Serve As Geely's Tech Pioneer; Group CEO Aims at Porsche

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems

After Chinese auto giant Geely took a controlling stake in Lotus two years ago, the British brand has prepared itself for a turnaround. With a more stable financial footing secured, Lotus can be whatever it wants to be.

Enthusiasts want it to remain Lotus, only with an actual range of vehicles on offer. Group Lotus’ CEO, who also happens to be Geely’s chief technology officer, knows what he wants the brand to mimic: Porsche. Feng Qingfeng has great fondness for the brand’s would-be rival, calling its products “wonderful.”

It seems he’s also okay with an SUV.

Speaking to Autocar, Feng said the results of the technological expertise dumped into Lotus’ revival will not remain the domain of the British brand. He sees Lotus serving as a tech pioneer for vehicles sold under the various Geely Group brands.

“For the high-end and pioneering technology and applications, Lotus can serve as the frontrunner in many cases,” Feng said, “then gradually in the future that kind of know-how and those resources can be shared with the sister brands within the group.”

Numerous new models are on the drawing board, with the fully electric Type 130 hypercar greenlit for production. Expect to have your minds blown when that model debuts, claims Lotus Cars CEO Phil Popham.

Insane hypercars are great for the brand’s image, but Lotus will need to offer a range of more affordable models in order to sustain long-term viability. With that in mind, Feng can’t help but think of Porsche.

“We know Lotus is famous for its sports car products but, to support the revival of the brand, we need a much greater line-up of products for future growth,” he said. “A variety of excellent products can provide pleasant and exciting driving experiences for our customers, not one that is limited just to sports cars.”

Key to securing Lotus’ future is the addition of genuine sporting prowess to all of its models, and not just winging popular bodystyles out the door because sales figures demand it. Inauthenticity raises the hackles of the sporting set. That said, if Porsche and Jaguar can find success with the likes of the Cayenne and F-Pace, why not Lotus?

“A brand or a company incapable of being self-sustaining or profitable cannot last,” Feng said, “but a company focused exclusively on making profit without its own mission will not last in the long term.

He added, “No brand can stand if it’s always having a blood transfusion. Take the Porsche brand: it has wonderful products and is financially strong.”

[Image: Lotus Cars]

Steph Willems
Steph Willems

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  • Asdf Asdf on May 17, 2019

    The Chinese really need to stop deluding themselves that they've got what it takes to manufacture high-quality products that command a premium in the marketplace, and stick to what they're good at, which is making cheap, low-quality, disposable products. Since Lotus is now Chinese, Lotus will become low-quality disposable cars, and for that reason they should also be cheap to buy.

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    • Asdf Asdf on May 18, 2019

      @Garrett Translation: Post-purchase rationalization means that you refuse to admit, even to yourself, that your Volvos are crap.

  • Conundrum Conundrum on May 17, 2019

    I still want a mint 1960 Lotus Elite with the 1216cc Coventry Climax SOHC fire-pump engine turned up to max chat, about 90 bhp and a weight of a mere 1250 pounds. I think it looks fantastic, Chapman's first real road car. And David Hobbs' first real consistent winner when he turned to racing and fitted an Elite with his Dad's Mech-a-Matic transmission. https://i.pinimg.com/originals/ba/04/bd/ba04bdcd77a1766d719bbb0072824d31.jpg Look at that thing and the driver's face and then think of the stinkers that 1960 cars were in general. The Elite 14 first came out in 1957 and came with four wheel disc brakes, no gargoyles, fins, or dogleg windshields. Against an MGA or TR3? No contest. The Elite has styling. If Geely, who do seem to have a clue, unlike all the other people who've tried to run Lotus like GM or Toyota by remote control from 17th floor offices far away, let those fen people have a real go at producing some advanced cars not fettered by modern marketing BS, then perhaps there is some hope for a bit of excitement in the automotive world, instead of all these deadly dull crashmobiles on stilts. The Baruths seem to think the Evora is the ticket already.

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