Lotus is at the early stages of gearing up for an initial public offering of its business in the next two years as it sets an ambitious path to go from producing around 1500 cars in 2021 to 100,000 cars in 2028.
The relaunch of Lotus started mid-2017 when it was purchased by Chinese giant Geely, and since then the British marque has followed Porsche, Lamborghini and even Ferrari in creating halo super and hyper sportscars to help carry its brand, as it also reaches into SUVs and other lifestyle vehicles.
Speaking to CarExpert at Bathurst this week, Lotus’ PR & communications director James Andrew confirmed the iconic brand’s commitment to going public, albeit on a yet to be determined stock exchange.
“Yeah, I mean, IPO is on the on the cards. We are at preliminary stages of looking at how we do it,” he said.
What seems most likely is that the Lotus arm in China (which will produce all non-sportscar models) will be the first to go public as part of the Lotus cars group.
“It’s a division of Lotus group that we’d IPO initially and all the options are open, we’re looking at the Chinese market, Hong Kong in particular from a floatation point of view, New York and London, everything’s on the table. It’s a very, very, very early stages. The window is probably 18 months to two years from now… it’s not a good time to IPO,” Mr Andrew added.
The brand is expected to launch its Lotus Emira product late this year with production for 2022 ramping up to 4000 units before it gets to 7000 units in 2023.
The launch of the Lotus Eletre SUV (engineered and made in China) in late 2023 will see those numbers increase substantially from 2024 onwards and that product will be backed up by a smaller electric SUV and a sedan in addition to an all-new electric sports car (co-developed with Renault’s Alpine).
The 2028 goal of 100,000 vehicles sold per year will see the brand stick to roughly 10,000 sports cars and 90,000 ‘lifestyle’ vehicles such as SUVs of varying sizes and other vehicles outside of its iconic two-door sportscars.
Lotus has made such promises before, but the company’s managing director, Matt Windle, told CarExpert this is not a “false dawn” for the brand and with massive investment from its Chinese parent company, the potential for the brand’s growth is far more likely than ever before.
As for how integrated Lotus will become as part of its Chinese parent company, Andrew believes the answer lies in an existing brand.
“Geely is a major holder now and if you’re wondering if they are committed or what is their track record, just look at Volvo! That’s the blueprint, Volvo is no less Scandinavian now than it was years ago when Geely bought them… Lotus to remain British and we will remain British [in the future].”
Recent IPOs in the automotive space include Tesla rival Rivian which has lost almost 80 percent of its value since it listed on the NASDAQ in November last year (even so, the company is still valued at a stratospheric $25b USD).
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