The go-anywhere model hasn't received the production green light yet, while the final design hasn't been approved. Nevertheless, if the Lotus SUV does make it into the real world, the vehicle is "four or five years away, as with the rest of the new range,” the CEO explained to the British journos.
Judging by what we can see on the market today, Lotus' boss has a point when stating that "no one makes a lightweight, good-handling SUV. It’s a niche, and it looks well positioned.”
The CEO said Lotus isn't working on the project alone, with the company's Chinese engineering partner, Goldstar Heavy Industrial, being the most likely version.
Let's zoom out a bitTruth be told, the Porsche Macan, for instance, is a crossover that doesn't handle as a heavy machine, despite its second-gen Audi Q5 platform making it a scale-unfriendly proposal. However, given the timetable mentioned above, the Lotus SUV will have to deal with the second incarnation of the Macan.
Before we can talk about an SUV, we'll have to wait for Lotus to introduce its next-generation sportscar line-up, with a new Elise, which is set to land in 2020, set to kick off the offensive. With a scale footprint of under one ton and a slight increase in size, the next Elise sounds promising, while the sportscar will also be offered in the US.
It's interesting to see how Lotus is considering a business strategy that could be defined as the opposite of the path McLaren has chosen. The Woking specialist has made it clear that it won't build an SUV for the moment, stating that the move would confuse its customers, as the company only returned to building road cars in 2011.
Past and FutureWe're glad Lotus has left the Dany Bahar era behind - the ex-CEO had introduced an overly ambitious plan that saw Lotus introducing no less than five concepts at the 2010 Paris Motor Show, with the strategy turning out to be more of a smoke-and-mirrors scheme than anything else.
Given the complexity of Lotus's new revitalization plan, we'll certainly have plenty of occasions to discuss Norfolk's plans later this year.