Group Lotus scores its first design director from Ferrari

  • 17-Dec-2009 09:43 EST
Lotus Donato Coco- Director of Design for Gp12.09.jpg

Donato Coco joins Lotus as Director of Design as the company considers its future product strategies.

Group Lotus has appointed Donato Coco as its Director of Design. Coco, an Italian national, moves from Ferrari, where he was Director of Design and Development, to take up his new post in the U.K. in January.

At Ferrari he worked on the F430 Scuderia coupe and Spider 16M, the California, 599XX and F458 Italia. Coco joined Ferrari from Citroen where he had been Chief Designer. There he was responsible for a wide range of models including the ZX Paris Dakar car and Xsara WRC.

Director of Design is a newly created role at Lotus. CEO Dany Bahar (a former Vice President of Sales and Marketing at Ferrari) said Coco’s appointment emphasized the added prominence being placed on design by the company.

“We have a very busy few years ahead of us," explained Bahar. "We are working on a new strategic business plan which will include the introduction of an all-new range of Lotus cars and expansion of our third-party design work.”

Russell Carr, head of Lotus Design, continues to work both on Lotus products and on the third-party projects, described by Bahar as an aspect of the company that is growing rapidly, notably in emerging Asian markets.

Coco, who will be based at Lotus’ U.K. headquarters, joins as production of the 2+2, 2.5-L Evora ramps up.

Commenting on Lotus’ recent design achievements, Coco said he is “looking forward to building on these foundations to deliver beautiful and relevant Lotus Cars’ designs.” Lotus’ core values and heritage would continue to form the central element of new models.

Lotus is understood to be considering various new products as part of a five-to-seven-year plan. It is expected to lead to a renaissance of Lotus, with a new range of sports cars, but so far there is no official indication that the company will follow Aston Martin and Porsche with a four-door sports sedan.

Lotus Engineering is researching and developing hybrid drive systems. The company has a close link with Tesla, for whom it assembles electric vehicles based on the Lotus Elise/Exige/Europa/211 platform.

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