The forthcoming Lotus SUV is set to position the Norfolk-based sports car brand as a more luxury car maker than previously - and could be the first in a series of crossover machines from the firm.
The project was one of the first signed off by Chinese company Geely afer it bought the British firm last year. As previously revealed by Autocar, the machine will use Volvo underpinnings, with Lotus boss Jean-Marc Gales promising "class-leading handling".
Speaking at the Beijing motor show, Peter Horbury, Geely's design boss, said: “The question is where Lotus can be positioned in the market, where it is today and where the competition might be. China is a huge market for more luxury, more expensive cars, so that’s a possibility.
“SUVs were never on the agenda at Porsche until someone dared to suggest to the board it might be a good idea. Where would they be today if they hadn’t?"
Horbury, who has previously headed up design at Ford and Volvo, was coy on details on the upcoming SUV but said: "It’s never going to be as light as an Evora. But I’m sure if you’re calling it a Lotus, it has to be the lightest it can be of that genre.”
He also hinted that there is more than one SUV coming from Lotus: “We’ve already mentioned SUVs are coming and we need a lot of resources in a fairly swift amount of time."
That resource is coming from a new Coventry-based Geely design centre, of which new Lotus models, including the SUVs, will be a focus.