British sports car maker Lotus appears to be going from strength to strength under the stewardship of chief executive officer Jean-Marc Gales, having brought the marque back into profitability following his appointment to the role in 2014. Last month, it was revealed that it has two new sports cars and an SUV in the pipeline – the first new products since coming under the Geely umbrella.

Of the trio of new products, the SUV will be a first for the brand and will draw heavily upon Geely model architecture. “Let’s call them modules. Platform suggests something big and heavy and it’s not like that. We are going to heavily use a mix of new and proven Geely family modules and combine them to create an aesthetically beautiful performance crossover,” Gales said in response to Automotive News Europe.

The upcoming Lotus SUV will be mid-sized and onwards, as indicated by Gales. “The Porsche Macan and Cayenne are the most interesting segments worldwide, so midsize and large. I wouldn’t start Lotus in a compact (SUV) segment,” he said. Possibly a Jaguar F-Pace-sized model?

Lotus still aims to sell around 3,000 units annually, a sales figure it hopes to attain by 2021 or 2022 with the new sports car duo currently in the works. “Last year we sold 1,600, up from 1,416 the year before. We’ll be at five digits [more than 10,000 units a year] with the SUV,” Gales said.

The CEO added that Lotus’ revenue was up 24% to more than 114 million euros (RM551 million), and says the company can double that. (Then) as soon as you launch an SUV, you’re thinking of a turnover close to 1 billion pounds. That’s the sort of size we want – and we won’t stop there. That’s why the SUV is so fundamental,” he noted.

As for the SUV’s production site, China will most likely be the country of choice given it is the world’s biggest automotive market, though that hasn’t been actually decided upon just yet. “We’ll find a way” to build in China, Gales said, though “the important thing is that the sports cars stay in the UK,” he added. There are two locations imaginable for SUV production and Gales would like one in the UK, though the Brexit situation makes long-term planning difficult, the CEO said.

“Over the last four to five years there haven’t been many newcomers in sports cars. There seem to be two areas in the world where manufacturers need to get into bed together, one is vans, and one is sports cars. Sales volumes are notoriously low, investment is notoriously high, so you need to invest wisely. It’s not easy,” Gales responded when asked if Lotus will always need a budget sports car.

Having said that, the company does have an all-new Elise slated for arrival in 2020.

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