Retaining staff, keeping it ’boutique’ and remaining authentic are critical to the brand’s success, Lotus claims.
Lotus Cars plans to expand its annual production capacity from 2000 vehicles a year to 100,000 by 2028.
It’s expecting this exponential growth to come from its first-ever SUV – one made from metal, and powered by electricity – alongside a four-door “Panamera fighting” grand tourer due after, also fully-electric.
As a boutique brand known for both its extremely-lightweight fiberglass two-door sports cars, and one-on-one relationships with fanatical customers, the plan to grow sales volume and make different types of cars naturally challenges Lotus’ own unique selling points.
Speaking to media at a preview event for its last-ever internal combustion-engined vehicle – the 2022 Lotus Emira – managing director Matt Windle said his staff are vital in maintaining the brand’s ethos and authenticity.
“We have the gift of long-term staff at Lotus, however the old ‘we’ve heard this before’ syndrome inevitably used to come out.
“It’s taken a couple of years to crack that sentiment, but we have. When we spent £GBP100 million ($AU174 million) renovating our Hethel headquarters, the first thing we finished was a new restaurant for our staff to enjoy, even before the roads around it were ready.
“We wanted to give our staff evidence, and show them we’re here to support them. The value of building the trust and confidence in our staff will permeate through the brand, and our customers will benefit.”
When alluded to whether the brand’s first-ever 5.1-metre long electric SUV will truly feel like a Lotus, Windle smiled and retorted.
“As you know, Gavan Kershaw is our lead engineer on Eletre [the new large SUV]. He started his career at Lotus at 16, worked on the first-generation Elise, Esprit, and others.
“You’ll be able to turn all driving aids off and experience driving purity. The large 15-inch screen folds away, too.
“Gav tells me ‘we still have work’ to do, which is a codeword for ‘we’re almost there.’
The upcoming Lotus Eletre SUV is due to arrive in Australia in 2024.
After more than a decade working in the product planning and marketing departments of brands like Kia, Subaru and Peugeot, Justin Narayan returned to being a motoring writer – the very first job he held in the industry.