Lotus Plans To Take Down Porsche With British Engineering and Chinese Money
A few months ago we reported that Geely, a Chinese conglomerate who owns Volvo, purchased Lotus. The deal gave Geely a sports car manufacturer and Lotus access to more funds than ever to build up their brand. Now that the deal is a few months old Geely is already announcing their vision for the plucky British Marque.
In an interview with Autocar, head of Geely An Cong Hui explained, “We are making plans; we want to bring back the heritage of Lotus to be one of the top performers in the luxury sports car segment,” An Chong went on further to proclaim, “Lotus used to be ranked alongside Ferrari and Porsche, so we need to come back in that rank again.”
Today Lotus's cars specialize in honesty. They're not packed with technology, sound deadening, or many features at all. These characteristics make them a champion for those of us who love driving and want a unadulterated experience.
A few decades ago other car manufacturers followed the same ethos as Lotus, they built cars that specialized in a pure driving experience. But since then, those golden years of driver focus have transitioned. We've moved on from the manual hand written letter with stamps, now we have texting, FaceBook, Youtube, SnapChat and all the other features of modern life. We're living in a digital age where buttons and screens sell not levers and gauges.
Take for example the Porsche 911, the gold standard among sports cars. At one point the 911 wasn't all that different from a Lotus Elise in its mission to deliver a pure driving experience. Today however, the 911 is able to still deliver a remarkable driving experience but it also has many screens that do several things, and buttons, lots and lots of buttons. Lotus wants to do exactly that and take their great driving platforms and transfer them to the modern age.
Geely wants Lotus to keep the driving experience but add some buttons and possibly leather or even some sound deadening. Sure, this is going to do wonders for sales because the people who car afford Lotus's like buttons and luxury touches. But what does that make Lotus then?
Can Lotus preserve its honest driving experience and endearing qualities when they're gunning to take on the likes of Porsche? Only time will, but anytime Lotus unveils an SUV or sedan they should be required to also launch a new stripped down Exige or Evora to keep the world in balance.