Lotus has finally given the green light to a replacement for the Esprit, a model that will have an essential role in boosting the Hethel firm’s brand image.
Key elements to the Lotus strategy have emerged weeks before new CEO Danny Bahr is due to reveal his seven-year plan for the company.
A Lotus source said the new supercar (known as Esprit internally, but it could get a different name) would be an “essential brand image builder” and a “high-status purchase”.
Lotus is targeting a power-to-weight ratio of 275-325bhp per tonne for its new flagship; an Audi R8 V10 has 319bhp per tonne.
Our source said the company is planning a three-tier line-up, with the four-cylinder Exige, Elise and Europa all falling into one group and the bigger V6 Evora in the other. He said there would always be room for an Esprit-like car. “It will be the ultimate expression of the brand,” he added.
As part of its business plan, Lotus has also been pitching the Evora platform technology to other companies. The Versatile Vehicle Architecture (VVA) can be adapted to create almost any type of vehicle, from a sports car to an SUV.
As an example of VVA’s flexibility, Lotus has provided an illustration showing the Evora platform with an electric powertrain, although a source said the firm would not be building an electric car.
However, Autocar has learned that the company is working on eight hybrid and electric projects for other firms.VVA is being offered predominantly to small companies for niche products, and Lotus can supply either an Evora chassis or a bespoke platform.
“If manufacturers want to do niche vehicles easily and effectively, this is the way to do it,” said our source.