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Lotus Readying a New Model

Sport-ute, sedan would mirror efforts from Porsche

by on Mar.10, 2015

Lotus CEO Jean-Marc Gales has the company is taking a common sense approach to recovery, which now likely includes an SUV.

Less than a year ago senior leaders at Lotus were scrambling to determine if the British sports car maker could keep going. What a difference a few months makes; now they’re trying to decide if they should add a sedan or a sport-utility.

“I’m a bit torn between an SUV and a four-door sports car – but in the end I can see that the SUV has the bigger market,” Lotus CEO Jean-Marc Gales told Reuters. “We’d do an SUV that is very light, very fast on the track and has outstanding handling.”

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Regardless of the choice, it sounds like Porsche could be in line for some competition for the Panamera, Cayenne or Macan, which is exactly where Gales drew his inspiration from for the new product plan last fall. (more…)

Struggling Lotus Unveils New Evora 400

British maker bills it as its fastest model ever.

by on Feb.18, 2015

Lotus hopes the new Evora 400 will help put it back on the map after a series of disasters.

Struggling Lotus has lately sounded a lot like Mark Twain, repeatedly insisting that reports of its demise have been greatly exaggerated, despite plenty of reason for concern, including management shake-ups and the collapse of an ambitious, and ultimately unrealistic, product development program.

But Lotus is showing at least some signs of life, the latest coming with the unveiling of its all-new, mid-engine Evora 400. The latest update of the Evora line is more than just a cosmetic update, insists the maker which is based in Hethel, Norfolk. It claims that “over two-thirds” of the Lotus Evora 400 is new, including its supercharged 3.5-liter V-6.

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“The Evora 400 is the fastest road-going Lotus that we have ever produced, possessing performance that can only be matched by cars costing significantly more,” boasted Group Lotus Chief Executive Officer Jean-Marc Gales. “It delivers supercar looks allied to supercar performance.”


Lotus Likely to End US Sales of Evora in December

Maker suffers second setback due to airbag issue

by on Sep.23, 2014

Lotus is likely to end U.S. sales of its street-legal Evora coupe after 2014.

The struggles of legendary sports car manufacturer Lotus don’t appear to be ending any time soon as it appears the company will end sales of its only street-legal car in the U.S., the Evora, at the end of the year.

The news follows last week’s announcement the automaker is considering terminating 25% of its workforce around the world. The company, which makes the Elise, Evora and Exige sports cars, is launching a 45-day “consultation process.”

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However, the company’s financial difficulties may have trickled down to impact the company’s ability to sell vehicles in the U.S., well, at least ones that you can drive to the corner store for a gallon of milk. (more…)

Auto Geeks Give Nod to Lotus Evora Plug-In Hybrid

Two-seat plug-in gets Tech Award at auto engineering fest.

by on Apr.16, 2013

The Lotus Evora 4414 plug-in gets the auto engineering world's nod.

There seems to be no limit to the number of awards handed out in the auto industry these days.  But what sort of vehicle might the engineers who actually design our cars, trucks and crossovers give the nod to? This year, it’s the Lotus Evora 414E Range Extender Hybrid that wins the SAE World Congress Tech Award.

The timing of the Tech Award coincides with the industry geek fest held at Detroit’s Cobo Hall each spring at which time all sorts of new technologies are introduced. So, it’s perhaps no surprise that a plug-in vehicle takes the honors for 2013 – though Lotus is not a name one normally associates with green machines.

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Sponsored by the SAE’s Automotive Engineering International Magazine, the award is supposed to highlight a mix of design and engineering innovation, “uniqueness,” potential for real-world applications and other benefits to both customers and the auto industry.


Updated: Lotus Pulls Back on Ambitious Product Plan – Is VW Bid in Offing?

Lutz and advisory board dumped.

by on Jul.27, 2012

Lotus originally developed the Evora GTE for the Le Mans circuit but had hinted it might do a version for the street.

This story has been updated to reflect the latest development involving the Lotus advisory board.

For long-time Lotus fans it seemed too good to be true: the British maker promising to turn out a whopping five new cars in a five-year burst of activity unlike any period in its long but oft-troubled history.

Well, indeed, it was too good to be true.  After discharging Chief Executive Dany Bahar, the automaker’s parent, DRB-Hicom Bhd, has scrapped that ambitious plan and is aiming at what several observers are referring to as a “much more realistic,” meaning downsized, product roll-out.

Meanwhile, former General Motors car czar Bob Lutz confirmed he and the rest of the Lotus advisory board have been terminated as part of the maker’s cost-cutting efforts.

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Could Lotus be leaning out its product plans to make the company seem more appealing for a buyer? That’s one possibility, industry sources suggest, new reports surfacing that suggest Germany’s Volkswagen AG might be interested in buying both the Lotus Group but also Hicom’s Malaysian-based Proton.

“In this day and age, with the cost of developing a new vehicle, building the tools and homologating a sports car,” said analyst Joe Phillippi, of AutoTrends Consulting, the Lotus plan to turn out five new product seemed “overly ambitious.”


First Look: Lotus Evora GTE Road Car Concept

British marque beginning its grand expansion program.

by on Aug.17, 2011

Lotus developed the Evora GTE for the Le Mans circuit, but this concept suggests it may offer a version of the 2-seater for the street.

The tony communities of California’s Monterey Peninsula look a lot like a used car lot this weekend – albeit populated some of the world’s highest-priced “previously-owned” vehicles as the annual Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance rolls into town.  But while most of the attention focuses on classic cars, a number of high-line makers are hoping to grab some of the spotlight for their own, newer offerings.

Among the many products to be previewed in the next few days, Lotus will lift the covers off its latest entry, the Evora GTE.  At last year’s Paris Motor Show, the maker announced plans to introduce a half-dozen new products in the next few years – its biggest roll-out ever – and, as TheDetroitBureau.com more recently reported, Lotus also is developing an all-new V-8 engine to power some of those offerings.


The GTE fits in with the mandate of legendary Lotus founder Colin Chapman to “add lightness” to every vehicle.  It starts out as a standard Evora tuned for the track – and redubbed the Lotus Evora GTE.  The concept version of the car coming to Pebble Beach, meanwhile, would be street legal if put into production.


Lotus Delaying Elan, Using Cash to Develop New V-8

British maker hopes to use in-house engine, rather than Toyota powertrain.

by on Jun.13, 2011

Lotus will delay its next-gen Elan in order to develop its own V8 for the new Esprit supercar.

Little Lotus dropped a bombshell at last year’s Paris Motor Show, announcing plans to roll out five all-new products in quick succession over the next few years.  Power for most, perhaps all, the offerings would come from Toyota, which has had a long-running relationship with Lotus.


Skeptics have questioned the British maker’s ability to fund the project, which carried a projected cost of about $1.2 billion.  And, indeed, it now appears Lotus is rejigging its plans, but not because they were too ambitious, the maker insists.  If anything, the Brits are looking at an even more elaborate strategy, one that could see them power those future offerings with a trio of engines developed in-house.

What appears certain is that the striking new Lotus Esprit, which is expected to carry a price tag nudging up towards $200,000, will rely on a new, naturally-aspirated liter V-8 of “under” 5.0-liters in displacement.  Originally, the Esprit, Elite and Eterne models were all going to turn to Toyota, which had agreed to share a supercharged version of the V-8 it uses in the brutish Lexus IS-F.

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Expect that with the in-house V-8, the Esprit will get “horsepower at least in the mid-500 range,” Kevin Smith, the U.S. spokesman for Lotus, confided in TheDetroitBureau.com.


To come up with the cash needed to develop the new engine, the next-generation Lotus Elan will be delayed until the rest of the new product line-up rolls out, which should mean sometime after 2016, it appears.


Is a New Lotus Esprit Coming to Paris?

British maker hints of something big to come during upcoming motor show.

by on Jul.21, 2010

Is Lotus about to unveil a successor to its legendary Esprit sports car?

Hey 007, Lotus might be developing a successor to your ride in “The Spy Who Loved Me.” Or, maybe not.

The British sports and race car maker has issued a cryptically worded press release that says it expects to make a major announcement at the Paris Auto Show.

“Perhaps a new Esprit,” the automaker teases. “Perhaps not. Or perhaps [something] even more?”

Lotus produced the Esprit, possibly the most recognizable car in its history, from 1976 to 2004.

But it took James Bond to give the Esprit that extra push in the 1977 movie “The Spy Who Loved Me,” where the super-sleuth famously drove one into the water where it became a submarine to make one of his always spectacular escapes from the bad guys.


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Actor Richard Gere wasn’t quite so adept with the Esprit’s manual gearbox in 1989’s “Pretty Woman,” which created a chance encounter with a streetwalker played by Julia Roberts.  Not only did she have a heart of gold, but she knew how to shift.


World Car of the Year Finalists Announced

European makers dominate.

by on Feb.05, 2010

Porsche's Panamera is one of the European models that dominate the Top 10 list of finalists for World Car of the Year.

European makers, ranging from giant Volkswagen to the lilliputian Lotus, dominate the list of finalists for World Car of the Year – or, more accurately, lists, for the judges, this year, have been asked to choose both a World Car of the Year and a World Performance Car of the Year.

The multi-stage voting process plays out, appropriately, around the world, with the two Top 10 lists being each whittled down to a final three, those picks to be announced at next month’s Geneva Motor Show.  The winners will be named, in April, at the New York International Auto Show, the event that traditionally wraps up the spring auto show season.

Launched in 2004, the World Car of the Year project now includes 59 North and South American, European and Asian judges.  Their task is a tricky one in that it requires the jurors to look beyond their own borders at vehicles they may normally not see on their own local roads.  That tends to eliminate regional products from consideration, based on the WCOTY’s history.  It, in turn, seems to provide an advantage to those brands that market products on a truly global basis.


The Winner!

Notably, six of the 10 finalists for World Car of the Year come from Europe, including the new Mercedes-Benz E-Class and the latest Volkswagen Polo.  Only two are Japanese and one is Korean, the Kia Soul.  The full list after the jump: