Lotus is turning the page. The company, now majority-owned by Geely, the parent company of Volvo and Polestar, is moving into more exotic territory. That means that it needs to bid adieu to three models as part of a larger Vision80 strategy.
The Lotus Evora, Exige, and Elise will exit the lineup after 2021. Lotus has announced that their production will end by December 31, but an exact manufacturing timeline is publicly unknown. Replacing the models is a new series of sports cars based on the Lotus Type 131 prototype, among others.
The new cars will be manufactured at a facility in Hethel, Norfolk, England. The strategy will ultimately result in the relocation of two Lotus sub-assembly facilities into one central operation in Norwich to support higher volumes of production and sales.
The Lotus Evija hypercar is the company’s future.
Photo courtesy of Lotus Cars
That move is a £100-million-plus investment in the facilities that includes hiring of 250 employees. This is in addition to the 670 employees that the company has recruited since 2017, when Geely and Etika took ownership of the company.
The Lotus Elise debuted in 1995 showing off a body made of extruded and bonded aluminium, and lightweight composites. In May 2020, the Lotus Elise Classic Heritage Editions debuted, showing off unique paint jobs that are a nod to days past, and offering an enhanced exterior and interior spec over the Elise Sport 220 on which they’re based.
In 2000, the Exige launched as the Lotus ‘race car for the road’. In June 2020, the company debuted the Lotus Exige Sport 410 20th Anniversary to mark the model’s birthday.
Lotus launched the Evora in 2008, marking the company’s return to the super sports car sector. In January 2020, a cheaper version of the car, designed to better fit the daily driver lifestyle, was offered.
A plug-and-play digital instrument pack was made available in mid-2020 giving drivers of the three cars in the current lineup access to lap recording ability for over 4,000 race tracks.
Lotus has released this image teasing three future cars the company plans to produce.Photo courtesy of Lotus Cars
By the time production is over, Lotus will have sold 55,000 units of the Elise, Exige, and Evora combined.
Lotus recently released video of the forthcoming Evija hypercar taking to the track, unleashing its 1,973 horsepower. The company’s engineering team has bragged about its capability and it’s safe to say a lot is expected of the model.
Though they’re looking forward, the company is also giving an approving nod to its past, delivering its first Certificate of Provenance to a 1981 Turbo Esprit that was driven by Margaret Thatcher. Further certifications are underway.
In April, Lotus celebrated the 35th anniversary of Ayrton Senna’s first Formula 1 win (in a Lotus) with a special edition podcast dedicated to the late, great racer.