Currently reading: Lotus owner Geely plans SUV and cars to rival Ferrari
Two months after completing its purchase of the Norfolk car maker, Geely is aiming for the top of the performance car segment
2 mins read
30 November 2017

Lotus’s owner Geely is already working on ambitious plans for its new British subsidiary, having completed its purchase of a majority stake in the Norfolk-based maker only two months ago.

This includes a decision on whether to produce a Lotus SUV that will be made very soon. Geely executives are already considering which platform it would be built on, the most obvious candidate being the Compact Modular Architecture that underpins both the Volvo XC40 and Lynk&Co 01. The flexibility of this platform means that it has been designed to accommodate high-performance applications including cars featuring a powered rear axle.

Lotus CEO: sports car production stays in Norfolk; SUV could go elsewhere

Beyond SUV plans, Geely is determined to keep Lotus making sports cars, and also sees strong growth potential in the brand. At the launch of the Lynk&Co 01 in China last week, Geely boss An Cong Hui said he was keen to emphasise how important his new subsidiary is. “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 said. “Lotus used to be ranked alongside Ferrari and Porsche, so we need to come back in that rank again.”

The acquisition of Lotus was part of a bigger deal that saw Geely take a 49% stake in Lotus’s former owner, Proton, and which was done to give Geely right-hand-drive production capability. But company insiders say the chance to take control and unlock the potential of Lotus was a huge part of the appeal, especially to Cong Hui.

Lotus has been struggling for investment cash for years, ever since former boss Dany Bahar’s grandiose plans to launch five all-new models was scrapped back in 2012. Although Lotus has returned to modest profitability – and, as we reported early this year, had started working on plans for an SUV – model development for the past five years has been restricted to tweaking and tucking the existing line-up.

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30 November 2017

The XC40 is a bad basis for a Lotus. It can never be light enough or engaging enough. Better that Lotus work to improve handling of Volvo and Polestar cars and keep their own brand special.


30 November 2017

At long last, can't wait to see the Esprit back again.  Although Bahar's plan was may be based on air, I must say as a big Lotus fan having followed the unveiling in Paris through the internet and visited the show afterwards, it was one of the best Lotus memories ever.

They should and will keep the base Elise/Exige in the offer to satisfy the existing customers, but should have no problem attracting some new ones in the higher segments (with higher profits) as recent launches have proven.  With Geely backing any future plan will be a lot more realistic this time around.  

Good luck Lotus.

30 November 2017

Not really, chaps. Not really.

30 November 2017

Oh... We've been here before... Oh no...

I also don't remember Lotus being in the same league as Porsche or Ferrari, and i'm pushing 40.

1 December 2017
tuga wrote:

Oh... We've been here before... Oh no...

I also don't remember Lotus being in the same league as Porsche or Ferrari, and i'm pushing 40.

Pushing 40... You may not remember the joke that was Skoda. It's all about brand management. The product doesn't actually have to be that good. JLR is proof of that.

30 November 2017

But good luck to them nonetheless.  Geely seems to be a real force for good at the moment, re what they have done with Volvo and the London taxi.  

30 November 2017
Lotus certainly was compared and comparable to Ferrari and Porsche.

There were regular 308/911/Turbo Esprit/Jalpa group tests.

30 November 2017

Absolutely. In the 70's and 80's there were Ferrari, Porsche, Lamborghini, Aston Martin and Lotus. That was it as far as top-end cars was concerened. Maserati and De Tomaso were extremely low profile. I'm looking right now at the first ever issue of Fast Lane from April '84 and that's it for supercar lovers.

Lotus was indeed up there and the Esprit Turbo regularly featured against the Countach, 911 Turbo and V8 Vantage in the race for fastest accelarating production car.

30 November 2017

all the Excel v 944 tests I read. Lotus was right there with (and ahead of) Porsche for many years.


30 November 2017

Excel vs 944/924 and Esprit vs 911. The only Porsche Lotus didn't compete with was the 928.

The Esprit Turbo could also go head to head with the 308 and Jalpa. Lotus was in the mix back then and definitey has the heritage through its road cars and racing cars to go back up market. No doubt about it.


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