Currently reading: Lotus appoints former Jaguar Land Rover boss as new manager
Phil Popham has left leading yacht firm Sunseeker to spearhead the revival of Lotus

Lotus has appointed Phil Popham, a former senior Jaguar Land Rover executive, as its new manager.

Popham will serve as senior vice-president of commercial operations for Group Lotus and CEO of Lotus Sports Cars. He will report to Group Lotus chief executive Feng Qingfeng, a long-time executive of Geely, which now owns the Norfolk sports car maker.

Qingfeng replaced Jean-Marc Gales, who abruptly left the firm in June, but is based at Geely's headquarters in China. Popham, who spent nine years at Jaguar Land Rover in a variety of roles, will be based at the firm’s Hethel headquarters and will be in charge of much of its day-to-day running and strategy. 

“I have spent my career working with, and have a passion for famous British luxury, high-tech and pioneering brands, and Lotus, with its amazing history, definitely fits into that category," said Popham, who has joined Lotus after spending four years running yacht firm Sunseeker International. "I am looking forward to being part of the team that will drive the substantial future growth of the Lotus business.”

As previously revealed by Autocar, Lotus has already been developing its first SUV and a number of new models as part of a revival plan under Geely ownership. That will include using vehicle architecture from Geely and Volvo

Speaking to The Financial Times, Popham said any future products would “have to be in line with what the brand stands for”.

Popham also said a return to motorsport would be considered to showcase the firm’s “racing pedigree” – and he even hinted that the firm could try to lure back James Bond. The fictional spy drove Lotus Esprits in For Your Eyes Only and The Spy Who Loved Me, but he has recently driven Aston Martin models.

Read more

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Lotus owner Geely plans SUV and cars to rival Ferrari

Lotus production to continue in Norfolk, could also begin in China


James Attwood

James Attwood, digital editor
Title: Acting magazine editor

James is Autocar's acting magazine editor. Having served in that role since June 2023, he is in charge of the day-to-day running of the world's oldest car magazine, and regularly interviews some of the biggest names in the industry to secure news and features, such as his world exclusive look into production of Volkswagen currywurst. Really.

Before first joining Autocar in 2017, James spent more than a decade in motorsport journalist, working on Autosport,, F1 Racing and Motorsport News, covering everything from club rallying to top-level international events. He also spent 18 months running Move Electric, Haymarket's e-mobility title, where he developed knowledge of the e-bike and e-scooter markets. 

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TheBritsAreComing 14 September 2018


A Brit running a British company?

That's a novel idea!

British cultural icons such as Lotus should not be playthings for foreign money men with no interest in or attachment to the brand.

Are you listening Speth?

eseaton 13 September 2018


Symanski 13 September 2018

Lotus Vs Aston?

The recent car chases in Bond have been hit or miss.   Quantum and Royale were good, but the one in Spectre terrible.   I seen a recut of the DB10 car chase on YouTube and it's much improved; worth searching for.


Lotus in The Spy Who Loved Me, even before the underwater scenes was superb.


Alas, Popham should forget about the Bond connections for now and just concentrate on bringing the best cars to market as possible.   Cars which will sell themselves.