Gossip time: Lotus Cars CEO Jean-Marc Gales recently dropped some juicy tidbits about the future of the brand. Lotus, he confirmed to Top Gear, is working on an SUV—and hopes to have a tester up and running in the next couple months.
"We are making progress”, Gales said to TG. “There will be a prototype running by the end of this year, but I can’t tell you much more than that.”
But don't panic; Lotus isn't about to become the new Land Rover. Gales says he also expects an Evora Roadster to arrive in just under two years, and a brand new Lotus Elise by 2020.
As for the current state of the marque, it’s doing quite well. Since launching the Evora 400 in the United States in August, Lotus has received more than 300 orders of the car, with the carmaker is delivering 50 units a month to the American market.
It’s a far cry from the Lotus of three years ago that Gales inherited when he took control of the company. Lotus was left in shambles by previous CEO Dany Bahar, who reportedly used company funds for personal use. Bahar also introduced an ambitious plan during his time at Lotus to offer five new cars in five years that would be a considerable move upmarket from the current Lotus fleet, competing on the same playing field as the likes of Aston Martin and Maserati. But Lotus's dire financial situation forced the company to abandon that plan.
Now, Lotus is revitalized. Thanks to the Evora 400, Lotus has hit the target Gales set of turning an operational profit in 2016. Instead of shooting for the stars, Gales is giving the people what they want—including a replacement for their Porsches. Gales told Top Gear many of the Evora 400 buyers are defectors from the ranks of Porsche 911 owners that are dissatisfied with the “lack of sensitivity” in the steering systems of current models.
And for the Lotus purists who find the concept of a Lotus SUV insulting? There’s something for you too: Gales is toying with the idea of building a successor to the 3-Eleven. You’re welcome.