Lotus unveils last petrol car, pursues Porsche

It's a grand old name in fast cars... with a sometimes checkered history.

Now Lotus is thinking big about the future.

On Tuesday (July 6) the British firm unveiled its last petrol-engined model.

The Emira is a sports car in the Lotus tradition, that will soon go on sale priced from £60,000, or about $83,000.

It's hoped the new car will treble the firm's modest output of about 1,500 vehicles a year.

But what comes next is more important.

Earlier, Lotus Managing Director Matt Windle spoke to Reuters:

"After Emira will follow the first of the lifestyle cars. So we've said that the lifestyle cars will be produced in China. They will be global cars as well. So they will give us that increase in volume that we need to give us the revenue to reinvest in other sports cars."

China's Geely bought a controlling stake in Lotus in 2017.

That ended years of financial struggles under various owners.

Together with other shareholders, it's plowing $2 billion into expanded production facilities.

Geely aims to transform Lotus into a far bigger company, making high-end sedans and SUVs too - what Windle calls the 'lifestyle' vehicles.

"It's a challenge and it's going away from what we've been used to historically, but then I would kind of argue the business case hasn't worked historically either. So we recognize that we need to increase our revenues through vehicle manufacture. The amount you can do with sports cars because of the segment of the market they're in is limited."

Porsche is perhaps the model.

The German giant is known for its sports cars, but actually sells many more SUVs.

Geely hopes Lotus will soon be moving fast in the same direction.

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