Lotus is committed to adding an SUV to its lineup but the vehicle will probably not arrive for another four or five years, at the earliest.
Speaking with Autocar, Lotus CEO Jean-Marc Gales said the automaker will renew its sports car lineup before adding the SUV. The first to arrive will be a redesigned Elise, most likely in 2020. It will be followed soon after by a redesigned Exige. Finally, a redesigned Evora should bow around 2022.
This in contrast to the comment made by Gales in 2015 that the next new car from Lotus would be an SUV, suggesting that the automaker’s turnaround plan is taking longer than expected. In his interview with Autocar, Gales said development of the SUV was dependent on the success of the turnaround plan.
When Gales took the reins at Lotus in 2014, the company had 1,200 employees and was churning out less than 1,200 cars per year. He made the painful decision to shed a third of the workforce, while also introducing new models. Today, there are 800 employees and annual production of 2,000 cars.
Gales said the design of the redesigned Elise has been completed. The car will feature a new bonded and extruded aluminum platform and evolutionary styling. It will be slightly bigger, too, to accommodate crash structures to ensure it can be sold in the United States. The same will be true for the redesigned Exige, with which it will share a platform.