Lotus banks on lack of US performance BEV competition

Sino-UK brand sees a relatively open field for its e-SUV, while also aiming to leverage its new links to a luxury consumer brand

Lotus banks on lack of US performance BEV competition
The Eletre will begin US deliveries in the second half of the year

Lotus, the UK heritage brand now part of the stable of marques controlled by China’s Geely, aims to capitalise on a dearth of competitors to smooth the entry of its Eletre performance e-SUV and the products that will follow it into the US market.

The firm is currently taking reservations for the new model, ahead of starting US sales in Q3.

“This is an exciting product… [which] will go through 50 distribution networks,” Alexious Lee, CFO of Lotus Technology, which this month raised $880mn from a Spac listing on the US Nasdaq market, told Yahoo Finance Live.

“We are in a segment of $80,000-150,000 and, in this segment, we do not have real competition in terms of performance cars... with electrification options.”

A further pro for Lotus positioning is that, in its target price bracket, “customers are not as price sensitive”, Lee suggests. And Lotus is an “early mover”, given its “full commitment to electrification since 2018”.

The firm has plans to roll out six BEV models globally and has no current intention of watering down that strategy by even considering hybrid options for its new vehicles. It aims to be first traditional luxury automotive brand to achieve a fully electric product portfolio by 2027.

“This puts us ahead of our peers and we are likely to outperform the broader market,” Lee predicts. Citing research from consultancy Oliver Wyman, he sees the luxury BEV segment growing by c.35pc annually for the next ten year.

High-end partner

It sees further competitive advantage from its relationship with private equity firm L Catterton, which has invested into the firm as part of the Spac process. L Catterton is backed by luxury goods heavyweight LVMH and the family office of LVMH founder and CEO Bernard Arnault. Its partner has “great resources in both consumer insights and the LV image”, Lee says.

“This is a huge opportunity for us to develop a partnership in terms of co-branding and co-marketing, to help Lotus execute its strategy and develop its full potential in the fast-growing, underserved EV luxury market segment,” he continues.    
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Anish Melwani, CEO of LVMH for North America, will sit on the board of the newly listed Lotus Tech.

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