Geely are planning to make Lotus SUVs in a new factory in China, but plan to retain Lotus’s Hethel base as the ‘home’ of Lotus Cars.
Things are starting to change at Hethel since Geely took control, with new jobs being created and building work underway. But, if Geely are to succeed with Lotus in the way they have with Volvo, it’s going to take a bit more than churning out more of the same.
Top of the plan list, despite undoubted consternation from die-hard Lotus aficionados, will be a Lotus SUV, with Geely no doubt hoping to emulate what Porsche did with the Cayenne and create a cash-cow model that funds the halo sports cars.
That plan seems to be underway already, with Reuters reporting that Geely are building a new 150,000 capacity plant in Wuhan City, spending £1 billion in the process.
It’s part of Geely’s plans to move in to a more upmarket sector, and the new plant won’t just be for Lotus models but for other Geely products too.
But it’s the Lotus SUV which will capture headlines, with underpinnings expected to be based on Volvo’s platforms and components – and a range of ICE, hybrid and even Electric models planned – as Lotus create at least one new SUV taking aim at the Cayenne, as well as two new sports cars – which will probably be built at Hethel.