Lotus is now in a position to fund an all-new version of its featherweight sports car and other new models thanks to a positive cash flow
Mark Tisshaw
23 November 2016

Lotus Cars had a positive cash-flow for the first time in its history in August, and is now in a position to fund development of a new generation of products, starting with an all-new Elise in 2020.

Lotus boss Jean-Marc Gales initiated a turnaround plan when he joined the company two and a half years ago focused on improving the existing product range, cutting overheads, and making the company financially stable and self-sufficient, something it has never been able to say since 2000.

The improvement of existing products has resulted in significantly upgraded versions and derivatives of the Elise, Exige and Evora, including a launch in the US for the Evora in the summer, the early success of which has now pushed Lotus into the black.

Now Gales and the Lotus team have started development of a new range of models. Up first will be the new Elise in 2020 and its more focused Exige sibling soon after. A new version of the bonded and extruded aluminium chassis is being developed, with Gales confirming the model would grow only marginally in size and would remain under 1000kg.

As with the Evora, it is being developed for the US market and its much stricter crash tests. Lotus offers the Evora for sale in the US without any safety concessions as it has been fully developed for the market, and is the smallest car maker to meet the crash test safety regulations there. It plans the same for the next Elise and Exige, and the sale of these models there should prove a further boost to Lotus’s fortunes.

Gales said Lotus was now operationally positive on sales of 1700-1800 models this year. Next year, 2000 sales are planned, 2500 the year after, and around 4000 when the next Elise and Exige are launched. An all-new Evora should follow, with some modularity to the other two sports cars, in 2022.

By then, Lotus would have taken the decision on a fourth model line: an SUV. Gales confirmed a prototype had been started, although a final decision on the design had yet to be taken. Should it make production, Gales said it could double or treble Lotus’s predicted 4000 unit annual sales volume at that point.

Before 2020, Gales will continue to develop the existing models, making them lighter all the time and improving the quality and performance at the same time, the Exige Sport 380 the latest example of this.

Up next will be an open-top version of the Evora, which Gales is promising isn’t simply an Evora without a roof and gets its own distinct design touches. This will be launched at the end of 2017. 

Our Verdict

Lotus Elise

Is the Lotus Elise still the last word in open-top British sports car fun?

Join the debate


23 November 2016
Like to know where, in 2015 Lotus sold 80 cars in USA and 830 cars in the whole of Europe.

typos1 - Just can’t respect opinion

23 November 2016
May be too little, too late. Lotus may not survive by then. I'd like more details of the cash flow since rumours that Proton owners want to dump Lotus.

23 November 2016
how about a revival of the Esprit as an affordable hybrid?


23 November 2016
Hoped that the new Elise might get to market quicker. Equally hopeful that it won't cost an arm and a leg.... maybe some hard decisions. The pounds devaluation will no doubt help.


23 November 2016
But an SUV would have to be a very different proposition from the current bunch of fatties to meet Lotus' "add lightness" philosophy. Sounds like the sort of project that would either transform or kill the company.

23 November 2016
Have they finally run out of their supply of Rover Metro wing mirrors?

23 November 2016
However people hype Lotus up they will always be an unreliable 1960's kit car to me.

23 November 2016
So you live in the 60's then. It's 2016 now, and err, unlike you, lotus has moved on.

24 November 2016
The reputation will always be kit car.


23 November 2016
The unfortunate truth of the car market today is that jacked up cars make big profits, and they do allow sports car manufacturers to survive so there is one benefit to motoring (there has to be one!) . It will be interesting to see what Lotus come up with under their current ownership as Proton is a limiting factor as what parts bin can they raid directly unlike Porsche who have VAG to underpin them. I think the TATA group should make an offer for LOTUS as they have along with good management and product development, helped to make a success of two other great British brands.


Add your comment

Log in or register to post comments

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

  • Nissan Leaf Tekna
    The is the new Nissan Leaf
    First Drive
    21 March 2018
    The new version of the world's best-selling electric car gains a bigger battery and more power. How does it compare to rivals such as the Volkswagen e-Golf?
  • Range Rover p400e
    First Drive
    20 March 2018
    The original luxury SUV is now available as a plug-in hybrid, promising lower emissions and the capacity for silent electric motoring
  • BMW i3s
    Car review
    20 March 2018
    Revised hatchback sets out its range-extended electric stall in a new, sportier tune
  • BMW X2
    This is the new BMW X2
    First Drive
    20 March 2018
    Doesn’t deliver many typical crossover selling points but looks perky, handles keenly and is well capable of winning over your latent cynic
  • First Drive
    20 March 2018
    The newest version of Rolls-Royce's flagship model sets new standards for opulence and luxury whether you're driving it or being driven in it