Lotus 3-Eleven, 2015 Goodwood Festival of SpeedEnlarge Photo
British sports car marque Lotus confirmed plans for an SUV back in April and at the time said the vehicle would be built at a plant in China. The production will be handled by a joint venture between Lotus and Chinese industrial firm Goldstar, and to help speed up development and save on research costs some parts sharing with Lotus’ Malaysian parent company Proton is expected. Nevertheless, the vehicle is unlikely to arrive before 2019.
That might be a long time to wait but the good news is that the SUV should make it to the United States. Although Lotus has a poor history of bringing its latest models to these shores, the arrival of the SUV is a likely bet. In an interview with Automobile, Lotus CEO Jean-Marc Gales confirmed the vehicle would be built for export and that the U.S. is seen as the marque’s most important market. However, Gales said the SUV will be built exclusively for the Chinese market initially.
Gales also revealed that the SUV would feature a conventional five-door design, as opposed to a sporty three-door design that had been rumored. And to ensure it stands out from the crowd, Lotus is aiming to make the vehicle the lightest in its class.
Before the SUV arrives, Lotus fans in the U.S. can look forward to the Evora 400 sports car. It goes on sale in January, priced from $89,900. The track-only 3-Eleven will also be available and next summer Lotus will also offer an Evora 400 Roadster.