FIVE new models in five years – pre-Paris hype by Lotus didn’t disappoint as it launched a new chapter in its history.
Between now and 2015 it will build all-new versions of the Elise, Elan and Esprit, plus two new models to be badged Elite and Eterne. It will also work on a city car project.
Lotus CEO Dany Bahar told stunned journalists it was the ‘dawn of a new era’ for the company but the future would stay true to the principles of founder Colin Chapman.
The plan is to move upmarket with a range of cars that will steal buyers from the likes of Aston Martin, Porsche and Ferrari.
The five will share a new family face, but differ in size, mechanical lay-out and customer appeal.
The Elise will build on the popularity of the outgoing model, while the Elan and Esprit are new mid-engined sports cars. The Elite is a 2+2 front-engined GT but the range topper will be the four-door Eterne to rival Aston’s Rapide.
The company’s bold plan poses as many questions as it answered, including whether its Hethel factory can cope with such production demands.
There are also issues about how a move upmarket – and the shake-up of its dealer network – is to be financed.
Below, clockwise, the new Elise, Elite, Eterne and Esprit