Lotus To Build SUV?

 

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It seems that every automaker nowadays is trying to catch the SUV/Crossover wave as consumers continue to buy more and more of them.  This makes sense as SUVs/Crossovers are profitable, especially at high volume. However, does it make sense to build one if it doesn’t coincide with the brand ethos or the rest of an automaker’s lineup? Lotus, a brand synonymous with lightweight track toys, has publicly said that their next product will most likely be an SUV.

To fully understand why Lotus decided to build an SUV, we have to take a look at another automaker that chose to go that path. When Porsche decided to make and sell the Cayenne SUV all the way back in 2002, most people thought that it would signal the end of Porsche as a sports car brand. After 13 years on the market, it is safe to say that the Porsche Cayenne has been a relative sales success, especially since at one point the Cayenne outsold all the other Porsche cars combined. Being as profitable as it is, the money made from the Cayenne has helped the Stuttgart automaker turn out better and better sports cars ever since. If Lotus can learn a thing or two from Porsche’s strategy with the Cayenne, it should help turn things around for the struggling automaker.

However, this brings us to the question of whether or not Lotus should even build an SUV. The founder of Lotus, Colin Chapman, created the company with the ethos of “add lightness” to a car to make it better. That ethos has manifested in the cars that Lotus has produced since the beginning. If you think about it, an SUV is seemingly contradictory to the fundamental ethos at the core of Lotus. They are big, heavy vehicles that don’t really work on the racetrack.  But then again, the Cayenne was as big of a step away from the 911 as Porsche could take, and they have proved that an SUV doesn’t have to be slow with the proper amount of engineering. Lotus CEO Jean-Marc Gales said that they would “do an SUV that is very light, very fast on the track and has outstanding handling”. If Lotus wants to survive and keep making amazing lightweight cars, they are going to have to cater to a bigger market by expanding their product portfolio. As someone who would love to see Lotus profitable and turning out some amazing sportscars, I am really hoping that they go through with their promise and sell a ton of them. Maybe then we will finally see the Lotus Espirit revival that ex-CEO Danny Bahar showed us a few years ago.

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