Sixfold leap in US sales and 57% European growth help Lotus to impress new owner Geely
Lotus has reversed its fortunes in the 2016/17 financial year compared with the previous 12 months, it has announced.
The company has turned a £2.0 million pre-tax profit in the last financial year, compared with a loss of £16.3m in the previous year. Its pre-tax profit jumped £10million in the second half of the last financial year. Overall, in 2016/2017 Lotus recorded an £11.2million loss, compared with losses of £41.2million the previous financial year.
The brand aims to return to full-year profit before the end of the current financial year in April.
Lotus returned to profit for the first time since 2000 in August 2016, and the results follow Chinese giant Geely’s acquisition of the Proton and Lotus brands, as well as the possibility of Chinese production in addition to Lotus’s Hethel plant.
It marks the possible end for what has been a difficult few years for Lotus, with fluctuating sales dimming the company’s prospects; Lotus described the jump as a «radical financial turnaround».
The brand has also increased its global dealer network by more than 50% since 2014, from 138 in 2014 to 215 today, including a stronger presence in the US; a sixfold leap in US sales and 57% European growth were both reported. Lotus also attributes its success to its strongest ever line-up of cars. More profitable and performance-heavy limited-edition models are also likely to have contributed.
Lotus CEO Jean-Marc Gales previously announced planned sales of 2000 cars this year, followed by 2500 next year and 4000 after the launch of the new Elise and Exige in 2020. Two years after that, a new Evora will be rolled out.
In an attempt to further boost profitability, Lotus is also tipped to produce an SUV model – the first in its history and a potential rival to the Porsche Macan and other sporting SUVs. A decision on whether to go ahead with the plan has not yet been made.