Currently reading: Lotus commercial chief leaves after 18 months
Mike Johnstone is understood to have made the decision himself, and is said to be planning to stay in automotive

Mike Johnstone, Lotus’s chief commercial officer and the brand’s most senior executive in Europe, is leaving the company, Autocar understands. 

Johnstone is officially still the firm's commercial boss, responsible for all products and reporting directly to China-based CEO Qingfeng Feng, and is simply on a leave of absence from the business, but his departure will be announced in due course. 

He is understood to have made the decision himself, and is said to be planning to remain in the automotive industry in some capacity, having identified unspecified opportunities already. 

Johnstone’s departure follows the publication of Lotus Technology's first results as a listed company on 8 April. These revealed a loss of close to £600 million in 2023, and showed that the firm is barely 5% of the way to its sales goal of 150,000 units in just four years time.

The firm's share price has halved since the IPO on the New York Stock Exchange in late February.  

Feng is rarely seen or heard in public, and Johnstone has been positioned as the main face of the brand since his appointment, including a recent wide-reaching interview with Autocar.

Johnstone joined Lotus from Geely-owned sibling brand Volvo a year and a half ago and has overseen a significant restructure of Lotus's operations and footprint. 

Lotus Technology is soon to open a new headquarters in London and Hethel-based Lotus Cars has been repositioned as a factory supplying the sports cars into Lotus Technology rather than as the base of the brand.

The Lotus Eletre and upcoming Lotus Emeya are electric cars built in China, where the bulk of the firm's production will take place.

Steve Cropley

Steve Cropley Autocar
Title: Editor-in-chief

Steve Cropley is the oldest of Autocar’s editorial team, or the most experienced if you want to be polite about it. He joined over 30 years ago, and has driven many cars and interviewed many people in half a century in the business. 

Cropley, who regards himself as the magazine’s “long stop”, has seen many changes since Autocar was a print-only affair, but claims that in such a fast moving environment he has little appetite for looking back. 

He has been surprised and delighted by the generous reception afforded the My Week In Cars podcast he makes with long suffering colleague Matt Prior, and calls it the most enjoyable part of his working week.

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Carnerd555 25 April 2024
Walked in, made plenty of people redundant, big ego fallen over. I only see a more damaged brand than the one that was there when he joined. Over promoted marketing bloke…
Deputy 25 April 2024

I think all his other roles were just one country or small region marketing for brands with clear marketing globally.  Looks like he did a good job of that at HD UK, Volvo UK etc.  But looks like the step up to comnmercial ops globally for a brand with limited resources was too much.  The Peter Principle in action?

sabre 25 April 2024

The Peter Principle is now popularly known as the Potter Principle

sabre 25 April 2024

He probably left as he realized that he should work for a purely European company, helping democratic Europe. 

xxxx 25 April 2024

Moving some production to China, binning the Elise rather than improving it etc. He's not the only one that should be losing his job.