Lotus CEO Jean-Marc Gales has revealed that the carmaker will introduce its first-ever SUV by 2022, according to a report by Autocar UK. The new model will be part of a next-generation line-up of vehicle, which includes a replacement for the Elise in 2020, followed by a new Exige and Evora.

The Lotus SUV is still in its early stages of development, and has yet to receive a finalised design (APX concept shown here) or a sign off for production. Gales did remark that work on a prototype SUV model had started, with Lotus’ Chinese engineering firm, Goldstar Heavy Industrial, joining in as a development partner.

He also believed that the introduction of an SUV would be a “nice addition to the line-up,” and could help Lotus double, or even triple its annual sales volume. “No one makes a lightweight, good-handling SUV. It’s a niche, and it looks well positioned,” he noted.

The Lotus SUV will be built in China at a dedicated plant in Guangzhou, which is currently being prepared as part of a joint venture signed between Proton, Group Lotus and Goldstar Heavy Industrial in April 2015.

As for its more well-known models, Gales stated that the all-new Elise and Exige will use a revamped version of the company’s bonded and extruded aluminium platform. The Elise is said to weigh less than 1,000 kg and will be slightly larger than before, with the latter to accommodate a crash structure that is compliant with United States regulations (the current Elise and Exige isn’t sold in the US but the Evora is).

Gales also wants modularity to be featured on the new platform, allowing the Elise and Exige to share components with the next Evora to reduce costs and improve engineering times. Carbon-fibre will also be utilised in the future, and Lotus will likely retain its engine-sharing relationship with Toyota.