Lotus Managing Director Chris Knight spoke with Automotive News Europe's Mark Catterall about the M250 show car and changes in the way manufacturers outsource development work to engineering specialists such as Lotus.
How are the engineering and car businesses organized now that Lotus is owned by Proton?
The engineering business is autonomous, as is the car division, and considerable growth is expected from both areas. But of course there are synergies to be found. Lotus engineering innovations will continue to be used in our cars.
How much engineering and consultation work do you have at present?
More than we know what to do with. We have 33 separate projects with manufacturers and major suppliers on the go. This work is driven by manufacturers increasingly outsourcing work to control costs. And increasingly they need someone to take control of a much broader range of work.
There is no part of the car which an outside company cannot work on anymore. Manufacturers are prepared to outsource anything. For example, you would never find them commissioning powertrain work in the past. This used to be a core OEM job. Not anymore. We get all sorts of work.
Will you give the go-ahead to the M250?
We want to see the reaction to the car. It is a global car, which fits between the Elise and the Esprit. But we have not yet decided when to launch it or where it will be rolled out first.