Sitting underneath Geely's massive corporate umbrella, Lotus has reinvented itself since it's no longer a niche automaker. Gone are the days when Norfolk used to sell only sports cars as the Emira – the brand's final ICE model – is available alongside two electric models: Evija hypercar and Eletre SUV. A sedan will join them by the end of the year. A Macan-rivalling crossover and an electric sports car co-developed with Alpine will arrive by 2026.
What comes next? Lotus' commercial boss told Autocar the British brand is keeping its options open by analysing what people want. When asked about the prospects of an estate or a shooting brake, Mike Johnstone said: "Consumer tastes change, new market segments appear, and new technologies come into play that means we could do things in a different way."
However, he pointed out the immediate objective is to get the saloon, compact crossover, and sports EV trio onto the market. It means an estate or other derivatives won't come out in the next three years. Johnstone hinted the future could bring an expansion of the lineup beyond the planned six-car portfolio: "We're constantly looking at how we can ensure we maximise the potential in the marketplace."
It would seem Lotus wants to replicate Porsche's success by evolving from a sports car marque to a complete automaker offering SUVs, a saloon, and perhaps even an estate at some point. Enthusiasts might not be thrilled but this business strategy has allowed the folks from Zuffenhausen to fund the development of the 718 and 911 lineups with money obtained by selling the high-volume Cayenne and Macan.
When Porsche announced plans for a three-row electric SUV earlier this year, we didn't hear any criticism. Over the years, fans of the brand have understood this profitable strategy hasn't negatively impacted the core models. On the contrary, it has allowed the 718 and 911 to blossom. Purists might scoff at the idea of a high-riding model, but in this business, you can't expect to survive just by selling sports cars.