Lotus is looking to turn a money loser into a winner. The British sports car maker said it’s ready to hire 200 new engineers as it steps up its turnaround plan, thanks to its new Chinese owner, Zhejiang Geely Holding Group.
The firm’s CEO Phil Popham told The Telegraph on Sunday Geely’s multibillion-dollar turnaround plan involves the hiring spree as it opens a new engineering center in England’s Midlands. The new workforce is needed for product development because Lotus has a slew of new models in the works, including an electric hypercar. The Chinese company has high hopes for Lotus as it works to turn the British sports car brand into a full-fledged luxury marque with cars to rival the world’s best.
The new engineering center marks the first time Lotus will expand outside of its Norfolk headquarters. Production of some Lotus models will also take place in China as Geely continues work on a new plant in Wuhan. The facility will have an annual capacity of 150,000 vehicles and house the capability to build electrified models. The brand’s immediate plans are far more modest, though, as the report states the goal is to triple production to 5,000 cars per year.
Clive Chapman’s 2018 Lotus Evora GT410 Sport
Lotus has a new sports car coming in 2020, though it won’t be reflective of Geely’s influence. The upcoming sports car will ride on a heavily updated Lotus platform, which Popham promised with still exude the brand’s core characteristics. It will, however, also focus on practicality and ergonomics. The first true new Lotus models will arrive three to four years after work finishes on a new platform to underpin them. Look for the next-generation Elise, Exige, and Evora to introduce the reborn Lotus as we’ll know it from here on out.
Teaser for Lotus Type 130 electric hypercar
Of course, the new platform will also focus on lightweight materials, as Lotus has always done. In the meantime, power should still come from Toyota.
As mentioned above, Lotus has confirmed that it has an electric hypercar in the works. A debut for a concept of the car is expected to take place later this year in London.
Looking further into the future, Popham wants to take a page from Porsche. He noted how successful the German brand has been in selling luxury SUVs and a hatchback sedan alongside high-performance sports cars and supercars. A British Porsche rival doesn’t sound like a bad thing to us.