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Lotus set to ditch entire portfolio by year’s end

All-new: Lotus is ending production of all its current models and starting fresh with three new sportscars plus the Evija electric hyercar.

Lotus plans new model portfolio, ending production of Elise, Exige and Evora

26 Jan 2021

THE winds of change are starting to blow for Lotus which this week announced production of its Elise, Exige and Evora would be coming to an end this year as the brand shifts its focus to a new series of sports cars capable of taking the British icon into the future.


Forming part of Lotus’ Vision80 strategy, the new three-model range will be produced at and supported by a more-than-£100 million ($A177,325,477) upgrade of the brand’s Hethel production facilities which will also contribute to the creation of some 250 new jobs across Lotus Cars and Lotus Engineering.


No specific details of the range have been released as yet apart from the codename of the first model due to come online, the Type 131, with production set to start sometime this year.


According to Lotus Cars CEO Phil Popham, the new models would be built with “new levels of efficiency and quality” only achievable by the latest facilities.


“Despite the continuing global challenges, Lotus has emerged from 2020 strong and on track in the delivery of our Vision80 business plan,” he said.


“As our Vision80 strategy illustrates, Lotus is all about looking forward, and our future is full of continuous innovation.


“In 2021, however, we will be reflecting on the legacy of our current range, starting with the Elise, a sportscar that genuinely revolutionised the automotive industry, not only because it is a legend-in-its-own-lifetime but also for its impact on car design and technology.”


Unveiled in 1995, the Elise is one of Lotus’ longest running nameplates and has gone relatively unchanged, on the design front at least, since its inception.


It also paved the way for the Exige in 2000 which to this day remains the brand’s most focused and track-capable model, a stark contrast to the daily-oriented Evora which emerged in 2008.


“Our renowned team of engineers, designers and technicians who are working on the new cars are acutely aware of the legacy from the Elise, Exige and Evora,” Lotus executive director of engineering Matt Windle said.


“Indeed, many were around when Elise was being developed.


“Members of our team, old and new, are now busy blending the learnings of the past with the innovations of today and tomorrow, to ensure our future cars truly move the game on but remain firmly committed to Lotus values.”


The announcement of the portfolio shake-up comes just two weeks after a new collaboration with French sportscar specialist Alpine was revealed which will see the brands pool their collective expertise and resources together in the co-development of a new electric sportscar, however no timeframe for that model has been confirmed.


Lotus Australia sold 59 cars nationally last year, the bulk of which (38) was made up by the track-focused Exige.


Despite the crippling effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, the brand actually performed better in 2020 than it did in 2019 with an extra two deliveries.

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