Lotus has just announced the appointment of Donato Coco as the company’s Director of Design in what seems like the latest step in transforming Lotus into Ferrari. Coco, you see, comes with an excellent record of employment, which includes a stint at Ferrari as the Italian automaker’s Director of Design and Development, where he worked on a few minor hugely important models like the California, 599XX, 458 Italia, F430 Scuderia and the Spider 16M. Previous to Ferrari, Coco started his career at Citroën where he rose to the top spot in the French automaker’s design department.
Lotus CEO Danny Bahar, himself a recent hire after running Ferrari’s marketing division, said that, “The appointment of Donato Coco as the new Director of Design for Lotus puts even more prominence on design within Lotus and strengthens the already talented team. We have a very busy few years ahead of us as 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.”
The current head of Lotus Design, Russell Carr, will continue on in his current position, working on both in-house Lotus projects as well as ones for outside parties.
Coco will work with Carr to design new Lotus vehicles like the upcoming Esprit flagship, as well as eventual replacements for the Elise and Exige.
Along with these hires, Lotus has made known its plans to emulate Ferrari’s success story by creating a strong bond between its road and street cars. Along with joining Formula 1 and announcing a race car version of the Evora, Lotus is also rumored to be considering entries into the Indy Racing League and American Le Mans Series. Should we also expect the British sports car maker to follow the Ferrari marketing philosophy and start selling its name to go on everything from laptops to lingerie?
Official release after the jump:
Lotus Appoints New Director of Design
Group Lotus is delighted to announce the appointment of Mr. Donato Coco as Director of Design for Group Lotus starting 04 January 2010. In this newly created role, Donato will lead all Lotus Design activities for Lotus Cars and Lotus Engineering.
Head of Lotus Design, Russell Carr will continue to work on both Lotus products and third party design work, an area which is growing rapidly especially in the emerging Asian markets.
Dany Bahar, Chief Executive Officer of Group Lotus plc said, “The appointment of Donato Coco as the new Director of Design for Lotus puts even more prominence on design within Lotus and strengthens the already talented team. We have a very busy few years ahead of us as 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.”
Donato Coco is looking forward to the new challenge, “Lotus has a reputation for designing evocative sportscars and it is a great honour to take on these responsibilities and challenges. Russell Carr and the rest of the Lotus Design team have already elevated Lotus Design to a globally recognised level and the increase in our third party design work for clients around the world is proof of our capabilities. I am looking forward to building on these foundations to deliver beautiful and relevant Lotus cars designs whilst at the same time acknowledging the peerless heritage and core values of this wonderful British brand.”
Donato Coco was previously Director of Design and Development – Ferrari where he worked on the Ferrari F430 Scuderia coupé and Spider 16M, Ferrari California, 599XX and the F458 Italia. Prior to Ferrari, Donato worked for Automobiles Citroën rising to the position of Chief Designer and was responsible for, amongst others, the Xsara, Picasso, C3, C3 Pluriel, C2, C1, ZX Paris Dakar and the Xsara WRC.
Donato Coco holds an MA in Automotive Design from the Royal College of Art, London, England. Whilst at the RCA, he was awarded first prize in a design competition, which was presented to him by Margaret Thatcher when she was Prime Minister of Great Britain.
Donato Coco is an Italian national. He will be based at the Lotus Headquarters in Hethel, England.