It has been a momentous year for Lotus. Volvo Cars-owner Zhejiang Geely Holding bought a majority stake in the British sports car maker, ending the uncertainty over its future under former Malaysian owner, DRB-Hicom. CEO Jean-Marc Gales, who has spent the last three years fighting to stabilize Lotus' weak finances, said of the company's new Chinese owners: "It is the best thing that could have happened to us." He explained why he's confident that Lotus is ready to enter the premium SUV sector in an interview with Automotive News Europe Correspondent Nick Gibbs.
Where does Geely want to take Lotus?
Lotus is a benchmark for handling, aerodynamics and lightweight. I'm fairly sure with the Geely parts bin at our disposal, we can design a Lotus crossover that has unique lightweight features, aerodynamics and handling that befits the Lotus brand.
What's driving your plan to expand beyond sports cars?
We are not just tied to sports cars, which is a fairly stable market worldwide. What is growing at double-digits, however, is the SUV market, especially the premium SUV market.
Would the SUV platform use bonded aluminum like your sports cars?
Why should it? Bonded aluminum for sports cars is a great thing, and for the coming years we will certainly stick with that technology because we are masters at it. On other segments we can have steel, aluminum, composites or even carbon fiber. The future's wide open.