- Title: Unveiling its last petrol car, Lotus sets off in pursuit of Porsche
- Date: 6th July 2021
- Summary: HETHEL, ENGLAND, UNITED KINGDOM (JUNE 23, 2021) (REUTERS) (MUTE) TIME LAPSE OF LOTUS ASSEMBLY PLANT IN HETHEL HETHEL, ENGLAND, UNITED KINGDOM (JUNE 23, 2021) (REUTERS) VARIOUS EXTERIORS OF PLANT SIGN READING (English): "LOTUS" VARIOUS OF LOTUS MANAGING DIRECTOR, MATT WINDLE, TALKING TO JOURNALISTS (SOUNDBITE) (English) LOTUS MANAGING DIRECTOR, MATT WINDLE, SAYING: "This, for us, is the first brand new sports car we've done over 10 years, so we're really excited about it. But for us, it's a step forward as well. So it's got the it's got the essence of the Lotus that we know from the past; the dynamics, aerodynamics, the aesthetics. But it's also a technology and a quality jump for us as well." VARIOUS OF THE LOTUS' NEW SPORTS CAR, THE EMIRA (SOUNDBITE) (English) LOTUS MANAGING DIRECTOR, MATT WINDLE, SAYING: "What we've used for this car is the transition to where we need to get to for the future. So, automation in the plant, brand new plant, brand new paint shop, new technologies, new content in the car as well, which as we move forward into the new era, that's in place, and then all we've got to do is say all we're going to do is change the powertrain option as well. So we made this decision. It was our strategy three years ago when we set out Vision80 that we would go fully electric, and this is the vehicle on the path to that. But in its own right, I think it's a fantastic offering as a Lotus." VARIOUS OF THE EMIRA INSCRIPTION ON CAR READING (English): "LOTUS" VARIOUS OF LOTUS' NEW ELECTRIC CAR, THE EVIJA (SOUNDBITE) (English) LOTUS MANAGING DIRECTOR, MATT WINDLE, SAYING: "Emira for now is the car that will be being produced in Hethel. That will treble our volume of cars that we currently make here, so it's a step up in that way for us. And then after Emira will follow the first of the lifestyle cars. So we've said that the lifestyle cars will be produced in China. They will be global cars as well. So they will give us that increase in volume that we need to give us the revenue to reinvest in other sports cars. But the next car for Lotus in the UK, we're already working on it, it will be fully electric. We've already said before that we are designing an electric sports car architecture for that - ESA., we've called it - and that is dedicated to electric sports cars, which will be the first time that that's actually happened. So it's going to be a platform that allows us to do a full electric vehicle, but will also allow us to achieve the attributes that we need from a Lotus, as well." VARIOUS OF CARS ON ASSEMBLY LINE WORKERS WORKING ON CARS VARIOUS OF WINDLE TALKING TO JOURNALIST (SOUNDBITE) (English) LOTUS MANAGING DIRECTOR, MATT WINDLE, SAYING: "So we're not using any of our sister company platforms. So the the wonderful thing that's in our strategy that our shareholders have agreed to invest in is us having our own platforms for the products we're doing. So we will have a Lotus platform for the lifestyle cars, we will have a Lotus platform for the electric sports cars and the beautiful thing about that is that that allows us in Lotus Engineering, which is the third party commercial side of the business, to licence those platforms to other companies as well, and we've seen a lot of interest in that side of the business at the moment." VARIOUS OF ASSEMBLY LINE VARIOUS OF CARS ON ASSEMBLY LINE (SOUNDBITE) (English) LOTUS MANAGING DIRECTOR, MATT WINDLE, SAYING: "It's a challenge and it's going away from what we've been used to historically, but then I would kind of argue the business case hasn't worked historically either. So we recognise that we need to increase our revenues through vehicle manufacture. The the amount you can do with sports cars because of the segment of the market they're in is limited. So we are looking to offer a variety of Lotus products across the range, be it lifestyle cars, sports cars. We'd like people to have the perfect garage for us, which would be one Lotus lifestyle car - or two - and a sports car sat there. And I think people are in different stages of their life as well with the products they need."
- Embargoed: 20th July 2021 20:19
- Keywords: Emira Evija Geely Lotus Matt Windle cars electric fossil fuels managing director motor
- Location: HETHEL, ENGLAND, UNITED KINGDOM / CIXI, ZHEJIANG PROVINCE, CHINA
- City: HETHEL, ENGLAND, UNITED KINGDOM / CIXI, ZHEJIANG PROVINCE, CHINA
- Country: United Kingdom
- Topics: Company News Markets,Europe,Economic Events
- Reuters ID: LVA001EKPD6RX
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Lotus unveiled its last ever petrol car on Tuesday (July 6), a milestone in the British sportscar brand's journey towards becoming an all-electric and far bigger automaker by the end of the decade.
Lotus and its Chinese owner Geely want to transform what is now a tiny company making some 1,500 sports cars a year into an electric powerhouse churning out tens of thousands of high-end saloons and sports-utility vehicles (SUVs) as well.
The expansion plan is not unlike that of Volkswagen's sportscar brand Porsche, which has expanded greatly since launching its Cayenne SUV in 2002.
Porsche sold more than 90,000 Cayennes last year, by far its best seller with almost three times the sales of its most famous car, the 911.
The Lotus project is starting with the Emira, which it unveiled at its Hethel factory on an old air force base in eastern England where it plans to make about 4,800 of the sports cars a year - with the capacity to make more if demand is high.
The Emira, which will start at around 60,000 pounds ($83,000), is the first new petrol Lotus model in more than a decade but it will be its last powered by fossil fuels.
Lotus has designed it to look like a sibling of its Evija, an electric "hypercar" that will have a production run of just 130 cars - it's the 130th model in Lotus's 73-year history - and sell for some two million pounds ($2.8 million) each.
Geely bought a 51% stake in Lotus in 2017, ending years of financial struggles for the company under various previous owners that had forced it to shelve some new model launches.
Lotus is now part of a growing empire for the Chinese automaker, which owns Sweden's Volvo Cars and is the biggest shareholder in Germany's Daimler.
Geely's founder Li Shufu aims to create a global company built around brands that share technology from a Chinese supply base under unique skins.
He has largely left details of how brands execute that strategy in the hands of local managers.
Geely and Lotus's other shareholder, Malaysia's Etika Automotive, are investing more than $2 billion to expand its production, including a new plant in the Chinese city of Wuhan where the first new Lotus "lifestyle" models will be built.
In a nod to changing consumer habits, the new sports car will feature a first for Lotus: cup holders.
Managing director Matt Windle said Geely had approved a Lotus request for its new SUVs and sedans to be built on a platform designed by the British company - rather than sharing underpinnings with Volvo or Geely's all-electric Polestar.
Lotus says that would allow the carmaker to continue operating as a supplier and engineer for other companies, which it has done for years with its Lotus Engineering division.
Geely wants Lotus Engineering to be a distinct technology outfit within its broader group of companies, pursuing its own self-drive, smart and electric mobility technologies.
Lotus is currently developing an electric sports car platform in partnership with Renault for the French company's Alpine brand, and that framework will also be available to other carmakers.
(Production: Ben Makori)
- Copyright Holder: REUTERS
- Copyright Notice: (c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2021. Open For Restrictions - http://about.reuters.com/fulllegal.asp
- Usage Terms/Restrictions: None