Lotus wants to tap into a more luxurious market than it has before with the launch of its new SUVs.
When you think of a Lotus, you think of agile, lightweight sports cars - not luxury SUVs. But times are changing. We now live in a world where supercar manufacturers like Lamborghini are resorting to building SUVs to survive. Lotus, a company that has a history of financial troubles, is also succumbing to the SUV bandwagon. The automaker is planning to launch its first ever SUV in either 2021 or 2022, but recent comments made to Autocar at the Beijing Auto Show by Geely design boss Peter Horbury suggest it won’t be a one-off model.
It could well be the first of many Lotus-branded crossovers to come. "We’ve already mentioned SUVs are coming and we need a lot of resources in a fairly swift amount of time," he hinted. An SUV may arguably contradict everything Lotus represents, but Horbury wants to replicate the success Porsche has found with the Macan. 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?" he said. Of course, a Lotus SUV is never going to be a lightweight track toy, and while Horbury said it won’t be as light as an Evora, he assured it will be “the lightest it can be of that genre.”
Lotus is also hoping that introducing an SUV to its lineup will enable it to tap into a more luxurious market than it has before. Lotus SUVs will be designed at Geely’s new Coventry-based studio in the UK, but Horbury felt it was important to keep Lotus design based in England and ruled out expansions in Shanghai or Gothenburg, where Volvo is based. Little is currently known about the first Lotus SUV, but company boss Jean-Marc Gales has promised it will have “class-leading handling” thanks to its Volvo underpinnings.