How will the philosophy of small and light carry over to an SUV?
Outside of the race track, Lotus is a largely irrelevant brand. It makes cars that look incredibly cool and gives them starting prices around the fully loaded Ford Mustang GT bracket, making sure that those looking for a track day special will snap them up. Despite this, Lotus barley eked out an existence using the qualities that make it unique: lightweight and small sizing. Still, the British brand couldn’t sell enough of these cars to turn a profit, so Lotus and its parent company Proton were sold to a Malaysian conglomerate that replaced the CEO.
The new leadership decided to turn the brand into a moneymaker and proposed a sedan and an SUV in order to do so. Details on the latter of the two new cars have finally made leaked onto the Internet. According to Bernama.com, the SUV will be built in Guangzhou, China, at a new facility that will begin construction next year. The SUV should launch in China and be available to most of Asia by 2019 and will probably make a US appearance soon after. To keep the Lotus DNA, the SUV will likely be made of light materials and keep its size relatively small. Unlike other Lotus’, the focus of the SUV will be on fuel economy rather than performance, and this is smart given the fact that its primary focus will be hauling people, not performance.
Engine options that drive other Lotus' could invade the SUV, including the 3.5-liter V6 found in the Exige or the 1.8-liter supercharged four-cylinder from the Elise. Even though the future site of Lotus’ manufacturing facilities, headquarters, and R&D center are not yet built, Bernama quoted Guangzhou Development and Reform Commission Deputy Director, Wang Ke Si, as saying, "It's still under development. Studies on soil usage have been completed and we have sent the relevant documents to the ministries, National Development and Reform Commission and other related commissions. We will being at the end of this year," Wang said. With $1.5 billion invested into the brand-saver, expect the all-wheel-drive Lotus to come soon.