Lotus expects to replicate the success Porsche enjoyed with the Cayenne.
A few years ago, Lotus' financial situation was so dire there were fears the company could go bankrupt. Fortunately, the company has managed to turn around its fortunes thanks to a majority stake acquisition by China's Geely, ending the 2016/17 financial year on a high note. Lotus has been on a roll lately, revealing even more lightweight variants of its Evora sports car, but we still have to wait a few more years for an all-new model. The automaker is aiming to launch a new Elise in 2020, as well as an SUV to challenge the Porsche Macan.
Ten years ago, Lotus revealed a CUV concept called the APX (Aluminium Performance Crossover) at Geneva, but it never made it to production due to financial constraints. That may be about to change however, as Lotus is in a better position to add an SUV to its line-up now that Geely has a massive stake in the company. "It has a brand image that hasn't faded," Geely board member Carl-Peter Forster told Automotive News at the Frankfurt Auto Show. He also added that he sees a lot of potential for Lotus to expand beyond the 1,500 to 2,000 cars it currently sells every year. A higher production rate would obviously lead to larger sales.
To achieve this, Lotus will have to expand its range beyond sports cars – yes, that means succumbing to the SUV segment. While an SUV should contradict everything Lotus stands for, Forster believes the British automaker can build "any size of car and any number of cars" that stays true to its core values of compact, lightweight and agile cars that are fun to drive, citing Porsche's success with the Cayenne when it launched in 2002. "If you look at a pretty famous southern German sports car manufacturer, they were able to very successfully expand the brand without diluting it," he said. Production of the lightweight Lotus SUV reportedly started earlier this year.
Reports have suggested it will be 200 kg lighter than the Porsche Macan and launch in 2022. As for its potential performance, the Lotus APX crossover concept was powered by a 3.0 liter supercharged V6 producing 300 hp and 266 lb-ft of torque, resulting in a 0-62 mph time of five seconds and a 152 mph top speed.