Lotus Unveils Design Of Hethel Expansion

Lotus Unveils Design Of Hethel Expansion 5 photos
Photo: Lotus
Lotus Hethel development plan (design sketch)Lotus Hethel development plan (design sketch)Lotus Hethel development plan (design sketch)Lotus Hethel development plan (design sketch)
Lotus celebrates its 70th anniversary in 2018, and after countless special editions, the Hethel-based automaker dropped the biggest surprise yet. Acquired in 1996 by Colin Chapman, the former World War 2 airbase where the headquarters are located will go through a number of changes.
The multi-million pound development plan includes a two-storey customer experience center. Overlooking the test track pit lane, the customer experience center will be joined by a museum and a heritage center.

Renovations to some of the most historic sections of the 100-acre site are also planned, to which Lotus wants to open a restaurant for staff and visitors. “Hethel is, and will always be, the heart of Lotus and our plans are the next step in readying the site for the next 50 years,” declared Feng Qingfeng, chief executive officer of Group Lotus.

A display area made from glass, including private vehicle specification salons and delivery areas, is also planned for construction. “The progress of these developments at Hethel demonstrates our commitment to Lotus and its bright future,” concluded the head honcho.

Speaking of the future, Lotus plans to take on Ferrari with the next generation of the Esprit, coming in 2020. A second sports car is in development, but the most intriguing development project centers around the first-ever Lotus SUV, which will arrive in 2022 with Volvo underpinnings.

“What? Volvo sharing parts with Lotus? How is this even possible?” Qingfeng replaced Jean-Marc Gales as the man in charge of the British automaker following the takeover by Geely. The Chinese automotive group also owns Volvo, making the Lotus SUV the perfect example of how synergies work in this industry.

Even though Lotus hasn’t announced plans for electrification or autonomous driving technology, the target set by the higher-ups is to sell more than 3,000 vehicles per year by 2022. It remains to be seen if the Chinese overlords have what it takes to turn Lotus around, but looking at how Volvo evolved under Geely, we’re hoping that the future is indeed bright.
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About the author: Mircea Panait
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After a 1:43 scale model of a Ferrari 250 GTO sparked Mircea's interest for cars when he was a kid, an early internship at Top Gear sealed his career path. He's most interested in muscle cars and American trucks, but he takes a passing interest in quirky kei cars as well.
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