Lotus CEO hints at approaching SUV model to lift sales image

Lotus Group chief Jean-Marc Gales has none of the preoccupations of other auto industry leaders – such as developing driverless cars or stuffing the existing ones with all the latest car connectivity technology available.

He has two reasons for that: the ailing British sports car manufacturer has an immediate survival problem and once that’s settled there’s zero possibility that the brand’s customers would want to give up the wheel. So, the loss-making British sports car brand took its time and unveiled a defiantly analogue – though thoroughly upgraded – Evora flagship, with Gales saying that before getting more digital controls onto the brand’s models the survival priority puts Lotus back at its lean, mean, driving machine essentials – and that includes getting rid of not so essential features and gadgets. Lotus is currently owned by Malaysia’s Proton, a unit of conglomerate DRB-HICOM and Gales is a newly appointed chief executive, barely 10 months on the job. The British manufacturer won universal praise for its aluminium chassis technology that combines a reduced weight with stiffness and was also responsible for the development of Aston Martin’s VH architecture.

Now the ailing automaker, with reported losses of 71 million pounds ($108 million) during the previous fiscal year, has embarked on a thorough sales network expansion that has already yielded a delivery growth of 62 percent. Lotus is coming close to 2,000 units delivered for the current fiscal year ending March 31 – but it’s still along way from its forecasted 3,500 mark needed in 2016-2017 when it also mulls a return to profitability. To assist the goal, Gales – who was previously a Volkswagen marketing leader and the No.2 at PSA Peugeot Citroen – says the next model in the line-up will most likely be a sports utility vehicle.

Via Reuters