Geely planning Lotus onslaught

Geely is already working on plans for Lotus, just two months after purchasing a majority stake as part of the same deal that saw the Chinese brand take control of Proton.
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We’re told to expect new products from the British sports car maker sooner rather than later, with a decision currently being mulled on whether to press ahead with plans for the SUV Lotus had already started developing on its own.

That project hadn’t moved much further than design work, according to Geely insiders, having been hamstrung by Lotus’s lack of investment funds.

Although Lotus has returned to positive cash-flow and seen a modest increase in sales, it has struggled to find the resources to do anything other than tweak and tinker with its existing models. Back in 2011 the company’s former boss, Dany Bahar, committed it to the development of five all-new models, but that plan was scrapped – and Bahar ousted – the following year.

Above: Lotus has rolled out a range of tweaked, tuned takes on its current range

We’re told the decision on the SUV will be taken very soon – it is likely enough Geely executives are already considering the platform it will be built on, with the Compact Modular Architecture (CMA) underpinning both the new Lynk & Co models and Volvo’s smaller 40-series cars the most likely candidate.

This platform has been designed by Volvo and Geely subsidiary CEVT to be flexible enough to underpin high performance models, with the possibility of both high-performance hybridisation and either a mechanically or electrically powered rear axle, as well as native front-drive.

Geely wants Lotus to continue making sports cars too, seeing strong growth potential for the British brand.

“We are making plans, we want to bring back the heritage of Lotus to be one of the top performers in the luxury segment,” Geely President, An Cong Hui, told us at the launch of the Lynk & Co 01 in China earlier this week.

“Lotus used to be ranked alongside Ferrari and Porsche, so we need to come back in that rank again.”