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