Lotus has ambitions to sell 150,000 cars globally by 2028 and grow its retail distribution network
Discover EV talks to Lotus's Chief Commercial Officer Mike Johnstone and Conor Horne, Commercial Director of UK and Ireland, at its flagship Mayfair store, about driving global expansion
Discover EV: Over the last five years there's clearly been a lot of thought and development and investment in new products within the range – what’s the brand’s ambitions for the near future?
Mike Johnstone: As you know Emeya is our third fully electric car – and another manifestation of our ambition. As we push forward, there'll be more products to come as we revolutionise the range, and by 2028 we’re aiming to deliver 150,000 cars globally, which will be our 80th anniversary.
Discover EV: That’s an easy claim to make – how have you arrived at that figure?
Mike Johnstone: To some degree you’re right – it is a figure you might arrive at in a PowerPoint or spreadsheet, but as you can see here from the product [Emeya] that we're introducing to the market, we're very serious about that ambition. And from what we've seen since the launch of Eletre earlier this year and Emira prior to that, there has been a significant increase in our sales. By the middle of this year we exceeded our best ever first half year sales in the history of Lotus.
Discover EV: Wow, that’s impressive – presumably you’re still keen to sell vehicles through car dealerships, rather than say, Tesla’s approach?
Mike Johnstone: Yes. That’s correct. We’ve ploughed a lot of investment in premises such as this one that we’re standing in today, as well as opening new stores across China, Oslo, Munich and Paris. We’re super proud of our store here in Mayfair, it’s a great environment for our customers and another symbol of what the brand stands for.
Conor Horne: If I can just interject here. We've seen 10,000 people walk through these doors since we opened three months ago, and 7 per cent of those were UK consumers looking to purchase a new Lotus. To be honest, it's surprised everyone the number of cars we're actually selling from here. We’re not just using this space as a brand awareness centre for people to see what we're doing, we're also transacting in store.
Discover EV: Can people test drive the cars here?
Conor Horne: No and it’s the most common feedback we have had from our customers but it’s challenging as we’re in the heart of London. We've got a solution in place however and hopefully before Christmas, if not in the very early part of next year, we'll also be offering test drives from the store to further boost our sales.
Discover EV: Do you have any plans to open further stores?
Conor Horne: Within the very, very near future we'll be opening up a multi-million pound showroom in North and West London, but I can’t really disclose any further information. Together with those stores we envisage that 16 per cent of all our sales volume next year will come from within the M25. And actually, if we expand that to the surrounding counties around London, that grows to a third of all our sales.
Discover EV: No small amount of volume, then?
Conor Horne: Exactly, being in prime locations allow us to go forward and cater for the brand and for our great products. We’ve been very busy within the company and looking to remodel our network, working with our current investors and also new investors. In the first half of next year, we'll be opening up a further ten dealerships, in addition to the two that I just mentioned.
Discover EV: Thank you both for your time – it sounds like Lotus has a bright future ahead of it.