Group Lotus says it will end production of the Elise, Exige and Evora models in 2021 but will launch a new Type 131 series sports car series.
“This year will be hugely significant for Lotus with new facilities coming on stream, a new sports car entering production and new levels of efficiency and quality that only a new car design and factory can deliver,” Phil Popham, Lotus Cars chief executive, was quoted in the announcement.
“Despite the continuing global challenges, Lotus has emerged from 2020 strong and on track in the delivery of our Vision80 business plan.
“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 sports car that genuinely revolutionized the automotive industry, not only because it is a legend-in-its-own-lifetime but also for its impact on car design and technology.”
The Lotus Elise debuted in 1995 “revolutionizing the low-volume sports car industry with its pioneering use of extruded and bonded aluminum, high-tech composites and lightweight knowhow,” Lotus Cars added.
“Using the technology pioneered in the Elise, the Exige launched in 2000, quickly became the epitome of the ‘race car for the road.’ The Exige demonstrated a rare ability to give the driver an involving yet accessible experience on the road, while still managing to lap the most demanding tracks of the world quickly, with the safety and progressiveness expected of a Lotus.”
The Evora supercar followed in 2008.
“Future Lotus cars are taking this learning and further developing it to ensure the preservation of that all-important DNA, with the overriding criteria of being ‘For the Drivers’.” the company added.
As part of its Vision80 plan, Lotus is recruiting around 250 new employees to its manufacturing facility in Hethel, Norfolk, England. This is in addition to the nearly 700 hired since the fall of 2017, when the group was acquired by Chinese automaker Geely and the Etika Group of Malaysia.
Earlier this month, French automaker Renault announced the consolidation of its sports car and motorsports programs under the Alpine brand and that Alpine would work with Lotus on a next-generation electric-powered sports car to be sold by the French company.