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.”
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.
The vehicles don’t meet the U.S. standards for airbags. It applied for and received a 12-month exemption from using the current generation of smart airbags. However, it will lapse at the end of the year and the company has no plans to re-engineer the Evora to accommodate the airbags, according to Car and Driver magazine.
The second body blow in nearly as many days runs counter to the feel-good efforts by the sports-car maker in recent years. The company’s top executive, Jean-Marc Gales, recently pointed out several media outlets that Lotus wanted to emulate Porsche’s product portfolio additions of a four-door sedan and an SUV to go with its three-car line-up.
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This year, Lotus has posted positive results. During its first quarter, which begins in April, the company saw sales rise 31% to 505 cars. It was the best quarterly result since 2011. July saw the company turn in its best one-month performance since March 2011 with 226 vehicles sold.
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However, since the company showed up at the Paris Motor Show a few years ago with stunning stage show to lay out its plans to expand its product lineup to five vehicles and introduce its new ownership group, it has seen it’s share of difficulties.
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Since 2012, the company has been dealing with a series of setbacks as it tried to move forward with its plans. Unpaid suppliers, due a reported $40 million, sued Lotus’ owner, Malaysian-based DRB-Hicom. Dany Bahar, the company’s ousted CEO, also sued alleging wrongful termination and sought for $10.6 million. During that time it asked the British government for some time to catch up on tax debts.