Lotus to Introduce 2 New Sports Cars and an SUV, CEO Says
Colin Chapman may be rolling in his grave at the idea of a Lotus SUV.
Lotus has announced that it plans to introduce two new sports car models in 2020, followed by, of all things, an SUV. These will be the first new models Lotus has introduced since the Evora in 2009 and since Zhejiang Geely Holding Group bought the company last year, reports Automotive News.
Lotus CEO and super-speeder Jean-Marc Gales didn't give many details about the new cars, though he did say that one of them would replace an existing model. An updated version of an existing platform will be used for one of the new cars as well. The other will be built around an all-new carbon fiber tub like some top-end supercars. It will be similar to the Lotus 3-Eleven track-only car, but remain road legal. Both new sports vehicles will be built at Lotus's United Kingdom factory.
Lotus has stated for years that it would like to increase sales to 3,000 cars per year. Last year Lotus only sold 1,600 cars, though that was still an increase from 2016. Gales predicts that with the addition of an SUV, sales could exceed 10,000 per year.
But let's talk about the elephant in the room—a Lotus SUV. An SUV is the antithesis of Lotus founder Colin Chapman's philosophy of "simplify and add lightness." Snowfall totals of 6 to 8 inches are expected in hell the day the Lotus SUV debuts. However, one other former manufacturer of solely sports cars has already gone down this road—Porsche. Fifteen years ago, Porsche introduced the Cayenne, the first vehicle that isn't a sports car that Porsche had ever made (yes, the 914 was still a sports car, not a VW Beetle with high aspirations). Since then it's become Porsche's most popular and successful vehicle, enabling the brand to keep building the sports cars we love.
So while Colin Chapman may be rolling in his grave at the idea of a Lotus SUV, there's a strong argument that such a vehicle is necessary for Lotus to survive. Considering its intended lineup of one SUV and five sports cars, it doesn't seem like Lotus is forgetting about its roots—much.