Lotus has committed to the new Esprit, a new mid-range model and a road car project with its owner Proton as part of a new five-year plan, unveiled this afternoon.The firm's board has given its approval to the plan, which was conceived by new CEO Mike Kimberley and includes two previously-unconfirmed models. The first is described as a "mid-range Lotus" - our sources suggest this could be a 2+2 based on an extended Elise floorpan (in other words, the car the Europa should have been). Lotus says it it will launch in December 2008.
Before then, in May 2008, Lotus says it will launch a performance model developed in conjunction with Proton. Kimberley has said since his first day in the job that he'd like Lotus to get back to breathing on other manufacturers' cars for performance variants, and while the Malaysian brand's range is pretty tame, this could still be encouraging progress towards a greater range of Lotus-tuned machinery.
The news isn't all good, though. The Esprit, widely tipped for launch in 2008, will not appear until December 2009. Lotus says the launch has been put back "to incorporate more Lotus 'DNA' and other enhancements to meet the changing needs of the global marketplace".
Lotus CEO Kimberley said, "We are very pleased to have secured board approval for a high-level five-year strategic business plan - the first such approved plan that this company has had in the last six years. We have some great opportunities ahead of us and some already under way. It's a very bright future but we have to work hard to bring all the opportunities to fruition."