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Lotus Posts Major 2023 Loss, But Also Record Sales


  • Lotus has had a rough time in the past few years with the global pandemic, but has taken a major gamble on the future of EVs
  • Posting a $750 million USD loss in 2023, this was the price to pay to prepare new factories, production lines, and employees for a major push
  • 2024 will see no less than three models, and a variety of trims, from the automaker, with plans to produce 150,000 cars annually by 2028
  • Taking just the bare minimum average profit margin and a sales volume of 30,000 cars in 2024, Lotus could be looking at $240 million in profit
  • We think that if they stick to their plan, can keep their sales volume up, and consistently price their EVs at competitive prices for the high-performance market, Lotus might just win this gamble

Lotus Cars has been around for just over 75 years so far, and throughout its history it’s had many ups and downs. It has also produced some of the best race cars for Formula 1 in the 20th century, and has made some of the most thrilling sports cars this side of a Porsche. This is down to the motto of Colin Chapman, the founder of the company: “Simplify, and add lightness.”

In recent years, they have steadfastly remained true to that motto, while also pushing the boundaries of technology and development. They were one of, if not the first company to announce an EV hypercar, the phenomenal Lotus Evija, and are on the track to become of the premiere EV sports car makers globally. Yet, in 2023, they posted a loss of just over $750 million USD… but somehow also posted record sales numbers.

In this article, we’ll analyze why that loss and how it will affect the company in 2024, as well as what’s next in Lotus’ production plans to pull themselves back into profitability.

Why Lotus Posted A Loss

The biggest factor behind Lotus’ massive loss in 2023 was the global pandemic. Already a boutique sports car company with production ranging between 600 to 1,400 cars per year, when the world shut down, sales plummeted.

While sales in Europe were still viable over 2020 to 2022 at 596, 634, and 367 per year, sales in North America were dismal, at 94, 161, and 180 cars total per annum. 2020 was a net 40.51% loss of North American revenue alone compared to 2019.

However, stemming off the development and production of the Evija, 2023 saw Lotus announce no less than three cars, and put two of them on sale. These are the final petrol powered sports car, the Emira, the “hyper-SUV” Eletre EV, and the “hyper-GT” Emeya GT.

2022 Lotus Evija
The 2,000 HP Lotus Evija EV hypercar. This car helped launch the EV hypercar market, and was a bold statement by Lotus that their future was electric. Image via Lotus Cars

The fact that the Evija EV hypercar was the halo car for Lotus becoming an EV manufacturer, interest was definitely piqued in 2023. Compared to the global total production of 576 vehicles in 2022, last year saw a simply staggering 6,970 vehicles leave the factory, the highest annual production in the company’s history.

On top of that, they have a waitlist of 17,000 orders for all three of the cars that will be for sale in 2024, with the Evija not for sales as it sold all production slots in 2018 and 2019.

Put into percentage, that is a ridiculous 1,110.1% increase in production. To do that, they had to invest heavily into their new EV lineup.

2024 Lotus Eletre S
The Lotus Eletre hyper-SUV has been one of the fastest selling and most pre-ordered EV SUVs ever made. It also helps that the R version comes with almost 1,000 HP, a 0 to 60 time of under 3 seconds, and a price tag of about $150,000! Image via Lotus Cars

That is why Lotus lost three quarters of a billion dollars in 2023, as it was the year that the bill came due for new production facilities, new supply chains, and new hires to work on both.

In effect, they put all their chips on red, threw the dice, and came up 11 three times in a row.

An Optimistic 2024

The biggest winner in 2023 came in Q4, the Eletre EV hyper-SUV. Lotus got their timing bang on with the release of the 603 to 905 HP monster. Starting at $110,000 USD, which for those customers looking for a high performance EV SUV is actually relatively inexpensive, it hit every single checkbox that consumers were looking for. Range, speed, acceleration, luxury, features… it was, and still is, a massive star in Lotus’ sky.

The Emira is also selling as fast as they can make them, as many who grew up admiring cars such as the Exige and Elise mid-engine handling superstars are wanting the last little bit of that “Lotus Magic.” Coming in at an MSRP of $77,100 for the absolutely base spec, the company is making a profit on each and every one that leaves the factory.

2024 Lotus Emira
The last of its kind, the Lotus Emira is distilled excellence, 75 years of company history crammed into one ultra-light, agile, and powerful petrol powered sports car. No wonder the waitlist is almost 1.5 years long. Image via Lotus Cars

As well, with how well the Eletre is selling, many customers have already put their deposits down on the $115,000 MSRP Emeya GT, which is set to launch in the summer of 2024. While no exact figures for orders have been released, the internet rumor mill has handed around the numbers of 8,000+, making up nearly half of the 17,000 orders on Lotus’ waitlist.

Doing the roughest of calculations, based on the available data and Lotus’ plan to be up to 150,000 vehicles per year by 2028, 2024 needs to see at least 30,000 vehicles leave the UK factory. With 17,000 orders, they’re already over halfway there, and if you take the average 8% profit margin a manufacturer makes on their cars, Lotus could have a $240+ million year in sheer sales profit alone.

A Huge Gamble That Just Might Pay Off

If any other boutique carmaker posted a loss of $750 million, they would very likely be tearing their hair out and wondering how they’re going to recover. Lotus, however, is one of those plucky British companies that loves to take a massive gamble. McLaren did it in 2010 when they launched McLaren Cars into the field of Ferrari, Audi, Lamborghini, Porsche, and the rest, and it was a sledgehammer blow to the market.

2024 Lotus Emeya
The Lotus Emeya GT is the EV they building to take it to Porsche and the Taycan, to prove that British EVs can keep up, or surpass, their German rivals. Image via Lotus Cars

We think that if Lotus can hold true to their history and keep their EV’s as tight to their motto, they may end up being one of the premiere high-performance EV sports car manufacturers of the world. Porsche currently holds that hill with the recent Taycan GT, but the Emeya GT is looking ready to step into the ring with it and start swinging.

Even with the recent downturn in EV sales as consumers look to hybrids for the moment, if the market recovers as expected and EVs get the push they need before 2030, competition always benefits the consumer. So here’s hoping that Lotus is packing a wallop!