It’s been a little more than two years since seasoned auto executive Jean-Marc Gales took over as CEO of struggling British sports car maker Lotus. When the former Opel, Mercedes-Benz and PSA Group executive arrived there was no money to replace Lotus’ aging three-model range. That forced him to cut costs while also finding ways to inexpensively enhance his portfolio to achieve his goal of making the company profitable. Gales expects to reach the key target in Lotus’ current fiscal year, he told Automotive News Europe Correspondent Nick Gibbs.
Are you closer to profitability?
We will be profitable this financial year that started in April. We had a three-year plan from when I arrived in 2014. The first two years were basically building up, this year is the year of profitability.
Where are you now?
I can’t give any numbers, but we are better than the year before. We are continuously improving as 2013 was better than 2012, 2014 was better than 2013, 2015 was better than 2014. Now comes the big year 2016-17 where we will be profitable.
What does that mean in models sold?
Probably 2,200 to 2,300 in this financial year. But we believe we could do even more because we will have the full-year effect of the U.S., where we launched the Evora in May and we expect sales of 400 cars. We already have 250 orders.
Will all U.S. sales be Evora coupes?
Yes. The roadster will arrive about a year after the coupe. Right now almost the whole factory is [building] U.S. orders.
Are you still cutting costs?
We are continuing with the cost-cutting exercise. The worst is behind us, but it’s a continuous exercise to review costs.