British sports car maker Lotus is enjoying new life after receiving a huge investment from China's Geely. We've heard rumors about , but Phil Popham, Lotus' new CEO, says there's a whole lot more in store.
Speaking to Roadshow in Los Angeles this week, Popham says he wants to "illustrate that Lotus is well-funded." Lotus has an ambitious five-year plan that's been approved by Geely. The first new product we'll see is a two-seat sports car, which is expected to debut in 2020.
Popham says the new sports car will address a number of so-called "hygiene factors" that haven't always been present in Lotus' prior wares. Specifically, he mentions onboard technology, passenger comfort and some actual practicality. Of course, Popham says that none of this can come at the expense of the car being great to drive. It can't "compromise Lotus' DNA," he says.
Following the launch of this new sports car, Lotus will create a number of other products built on a brand-new platform. Popham says all these future products will be "conceptualized, designed and program-managed" by Lotus in the UK -- "no badge engineering," he says.
New sports cars will be spawned by this platform, of course. But Popham says this architecture will be flexible enough to support other vehicle types -- "I wouldn't rule out anything," he told Roadshow. In early 2018, reports surfaced about, and this new platform could provide the basis for such a vehicle. Popham reminds us that Lotus will only move into segments that will allow a product to retain the company's driver-enjoyment-above-all ethos.
Regardless of vehicle type, Popham says electrification will be a big part of Lotus' future cars. Electric powertrains won't be the only option, but indeed, Popham sees the need to add this sort of tech to remain competitive in the future.
Geely's investment in Volvo Cars certainly did wonders for the Swedish automaker, and Popham is excited about the possibilities with Lotus. As fans of the brand ourselves, we're definitely keeping our fingers crossed.