Lotus CEO Phil Popham hints at the company’s future plans.
Now that the company is owned by Geely, Lotus is financially secure enough to launch a new product onslaught. Rumors have suggested the British automaker is working with Williams Advanced Engineering to develop a hardcore hypercar, but the first new model will be an all-new sports car that will act as a bridge between the existing Lotus models and the next-generation Elise, Exige, and Evora due in the next decade. Speaking with Automotive News, new CEO Phil Popham confirmed the new Lotus sports car will debut by the end of the year, but it won’t be electric.
But while Lotus is renowned for making niche lightweight sports cars, Popham wants to explore other segments and develop more mainstream models to generate more revenue such as a long-rumored Lotus SUV or possibly a sports sedan. The CEO insists, however, that these models will only be produced if they are lightweight and have the exemplary handling Lotus is renowned for.
"We will move into other segments over the course of time. We have a great opportunity to work within the Geely group with its engineering capabilities. We can walk into the group and look on the shelves and pay to use some of the resources and technology there. That would enable us to go beyond just sports cars in the future.
Looking ahead, Popham added that the company is investing in a new platform that will "spawn multiple cars in the future. We are going through feasibility studies at the moment in terms of cost and technical feasibility,” he said. "We are looking at various propulsion systems, including electric.” The new platform hasn’t been determined yet, but it won’t be based on an existing Volvo, Polestar or Lynk & CO platform. "We would never just take a platform or an architecture and stick a Lotus badge on it. It would have to be a collaboration that protects the requirements of Lotus driving dynamics and performance.”
In the past, Lotus has developed cars with other automakers, spawning legendary models like the Lotus Carlton and the Lotus Cortina. When asked if Lotus would consider doing this again, Popham said there are no immediate plans, but it could still be a future possibility. "There is no doubt that helped actually build the credibility of Lotus engineering and the Lotus brand,” he said. "But that's not our focus at the moment. I wouldn't rule it out in the future.”