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Lotus stays committed to luxury segment plan

By LI FUSHENG | China Daily | Updated: 2024-02-26 08:31

Visitors inspect Lotus' cars at the Guangzhou auto show in November. [LI FUSHENG/CHINA DAILY]

Lotus Technology, a division of British company Lotus Group that owns Lotus Cars, will focus on vehicles priced starting from $80,000 and has no plan to go cheaper for volume, said CEO Feng Qingfeng.

Feng said that it is important to differentiate from one another in the market, saying the company's models are positioned as smart electric "lifestyle" vehicles born on racetracks.

He made the remarks on Friday when Lotus Technology started trading at Nasdaq after a merger with L Catterton Asia Acquisition Corp, a special purpose acquisition company.

Lotus Technology, a global smart electric mobility unit of Lotus Group, produces lifestyle vehicles that bear the Lotus marque in China. But it sells all Lotus vehicles, including those made in the United Kingdom, globally.

The company said its order book stood at 17,000 units in the first half of 2023 for its first electric SUV, the Eletre, and its mid-engined Emira sports car, both of which are plans of the Vision 80 strategy.

It did not release sales figures in China, but Feng acknowledged it did not live up to many people's expectations.

"EVs account for around 7-8 percent in the segment of luxury vehicles, which are priced over $80,000. It was lower than our estimate of 10+ percent, although EVs hit 22 percent of total new vehicles sales," said Feng. He said supply chains affected production as well.

He nevertheless expects China to be the largest market for Lotus, contributing 40 percent of its sales by 2025.

But he said the markets outside China have shown a different pattern. "The proportion of EVs is higher in the segment priced over $80,000 than the average in the overall market," said Feng.

The company has established a global network covering Europe, Southeast Asia and the Middle East. Feng said its electric SUV Eletre will be available in the United States in the third quarter.

When asked if Lotus has a plan to catch up with Porsche, Feng said its sales will reach 150,000 units in 2028, which is around half of Porsche's sales in 2023.

"It will be somewhat behind Porsche, but the volume will mean we have finished our electric transition," said Feng.

The sales goal is part of Lotus Group's Vision 80 strategy, a 10-year development plan unveiled in 2018 shortly after Chinese conglomerate Geely Holding acquired a 51 percent of the British company which was established in 1948.

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