Lotus Pushes Upmarket with a Bespoke Car Service

by Nathan Petroelje
21 March 2024 2 min read
Lotus Pushes Upmarket with a Bespoke Car Service
Photos courtesy Lotus

Lotus is launching a bespoke build program to entice ultra-wealthy buyers in hopes of securing a new revenue stream toward the top end of the market.

Called Lotus Chapman Bespoke, named after company founder Colin Chapman, the programme goes beyond what a standard online configurator can offer with three levels of customisation, each progressively costlier than the last:

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  • Tailor-Made: The most humble degree of personalisation, Tailor-Made will allow buyers to choose uniquely styled products from within Lotus’ existing colour palette and design arsenal and finish their build with personal touches and details. (Imagine a buffet-style build for your Lotus Eletre, where you can pick an exterior colour, interior fabric, accent stitching, and more, all to your exact liking.)
  • Collection: Buyers will gain access to a portfolio of limited-edition designs, often drummed up in collaboration with various artists or luxury brands. (Picture something similar to the 20 Lamborghini Murciélago LP640s built in collaboration with Versace. Lotus could pull something similar with its Evija electric hypercar.)
  • One-Off: As the announcement states, “build a car as unique as you are.” The sky – and the heft of your wallet – are the only limiting factors here.

“The story of Lotus is the story of a bespoke carmaker,” said Qingfeng Feng, CEO of the Lotus Group. “The first cars were hand-drawn and hand-built at home by Colin Chapman, and that spirit lives on in us today.”

Lotus Chapman Bespoke programme exterior badge on Lotus Eletre

Lotus isn’t the only manufacturer to offer a programme like this. Ferrari has been offering something similar with its “Ferrari Personalisation” and “Ferrari Special Projects” programmes for a while now. Ultra-exotic creations like the Ferrari SP-8 are byproducts of the latter. Aston Martin’s “Q by Aston Martin” is structured almost exactly like the Lotus Chapman programme.

These ultra-personalised purchasing channels are chances for higher-end automakers to generate serious margins on their products, which can be a major lift for their bottom lines as lower-volume automakers.

Earlier this year, Lotus issued an Initial Public Offering (IPO) on the NASDAQ stock exchange in New York, presumably to raise capital for the costly road ahead as it transitions its portfolio to entirely battery-electric.

Lotus says the programme will roll out first in China on 25 April, followed by the gradual expansion to other key markets in the coming months.

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