Lotus is on a high right now, with the company posting its first profits since the beginning of the millennium. Jean-Marc Gales, the CEO, has successfully executed his brilliant turnaround plan for the Hethel brand, which has required the company to improve the product range, cut overheads, and achieve self-sufficiency.
The Malaysian-owned company has managed well since Jean-Marc’s induction as Lotus CEO in 2014, and under his tenure, the company has upgraded the entire range of Lotus vehicles, bringing them up to date with their closest competitors, and has even managed to ready the flagship Evora for US introduction early next year.
Not content with merely improving upon what they already have, the team at Lotus will now focus their energies on bringing new products to market, starting with the new Elise. The current generation, which is largely a heavily-revised version of a 2001 model, will sport an improved version of the bonded-and-extruded aluminium chassis of the current car, with sources saying that it will result in a sub-1000kg sports car. The new Elise, when introduced, will spawn a new Exige as well, ensuring that fans of the more focused, hardcore model will be well catered for.
As for the Evora, it is presently being developed with the US market in mind, with engineers ensuring that the big GT car can meet strict crash test regulations there. At present, the Evora meets all current safety regulations in the States, with Lotus being the smallest-volume carmaker to do so. Though the existing Elise and Exige do not meet these regulations, the new generations of the mid-engined lightweight sports cars will be expected to meet their standards, allowing them to be introduced there.
Gales said that Lotus is presently operating in the black, with about 1,800 Lotus sports cars sold this year. Hethel will now be aiming to hit 2,000 units by next year, with the goal of doubling that when the new generation Elise and Exige come to market. The Evora is expected to push that number up further, but the big-ticket product here will be the Lotus SUV, which will form Lotus’ fourth model line. With that in the lineup, the company expects sales to achieve 4,000 units annually without too much issue.
Prior to all this though, Gales said that he will continue to develop existing models, adopting the “add lightness” ethos that founder Colin Chapman drummed into every Lotus model since the brand’s inception, whilst also improving performance and quality across the board. 2017 will also see the introduction of a drop-top Evora, which the CEO promises will bear its own unique design flourishes to distinguish it from its fixed-top sibling.
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