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 |  Dec 15 2009, 3:19 PM

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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:

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