According to Lotus chief executive officer Jean-Marc Gales, the British specialist sports car producer will build its first sport utility vehicle in China and then export the new model to European markets and also probably the United States.

Lotus has decided it would join the peers from the ultra-luxury and sports car segment in developing and marketing a sport utility vehicle, with the intent on delivering it on the market by 2019. The global SUV flurry has also encompassed such brands as Bentley – with the Bentayga – Maserati with the Ghibli or Porsche, while other rivals such as Aston Martin and Rolls-Royce have announced their future implication in the segment as well. According to the Lotus executive, the British automaker’s crossover will not be directed towards the high-end of the market, instead being set as a rival to the compact Porsche Macan. Earlier this month, Lotus’ owner Proton Holdings, which is parented by Malaysia’s DRB-Hicom group, has announced it inked a deal with China’s Goldstar Heavy Industrial to set up a joint venture that would take care of Lotus car production at a factory in the Fujian province.

Gales further detailed the SUV model, saying a prototype of the model will be ready within a year to assist the new joint venture in getting ready the license to manufacture Lotus models in China. The crossover will not shed the Lotus tradition of delivering extremely lightweight and performance-driven models – the light and fast SUV would employ a new architecture that uses both steel and aluminum, with a target of dropping below the current weight of competitors such as the Macan or Audi’s Q5. To corroborate the technical prowess of Lotus cars, the drivetrain could be hybrid.

Via Automotive News


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