Light work: The Coventry designers reimagining Lotus

The main design phases are finished, but there’s still more to do, of course. There’s always more to do. But primary design effort now centers on cars beyond the Eletre. Production isn’t due for another year, but for the 120-strong LTCC team, the major design tasks are past.

“It’s a done deal,” says Payne succinctly. “We’ve finished. Now we face the bit that really matters: the customer’s verdict.

Q&A: Peter Hornby, Senior Vice President/Executive Advisor, Lotus

Why is the Eletre so big? Surely a smaller SUV would evoke the Lotus spirit better?

“This car has a vitally important job to do in China, where size really matters. Technology is important, too, as it is in other global markets, and we decided we could do a better job of showing the high standard we’ve reached with that in a big car. By the way, big SUVs are still doing very well on global markets.”

Who do you see as your competitors?

“We’re looking at very high-end competition: models from Lamborghini, Aston Martin and Ferrari when they come. For now, we’re ahead of the game. We’ve worked hard to give the Eletre a mid-engined character, a kind of hypercar look, which is pretty good in a car that starts at less than £100,000. Our car is a unique proposition, and it will be for a while.”

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