Currently reading: Paris motor show 2010: Lotus stuns Paris with six new models
A new Elise, Elite, Espirt, Elan, Eterne saloon and city car all revealed at the Paris motor show

Last week’s Lotus Elite news bombshell has turned out merely to be the beginning of an extraordinary Lotus product explosion which will, company bosses say, put six brand new Lotus models into the market by 2016, establish a new design style for all future models and bring an end to the company’s 15 years of accumulated losses.

At today’s Paris motor show, Lotus has unveiled six full-size models models which, if successful, will move the company’s image and prices into Aston Martin, Ferrari and Porsche territory.

“Our plan is to change Lotus from its present position as a niche sports car company to a builder of a range of premium sports cars”, says CEO Dany Bahar, architect of the company’s new five-year plan.

A couple of the six new Lotus concepts are intended for production even sooner than the front-engined V8 Elite hybrid revealed as a styling model last week and proposed for 2014.

The new cars, whose launch is being accompanied by developments costing many millions to Lotus’s factories, design facilities, test track and motorsport activities, and there is to be a new museum and heritage centre. The work, which has already started, will involve “fully funded” expenditure running to £770 million over the next decade.

The models include a replacement for the Elise, an all-new Esprit, the Elite and a larger Eterne saloon based on it, a new Elan and even a new city car co-developed with parent firm Proton.

The whole project is being underwritten by Malaysian-based Proton, Lotus’s parent, which decided 18 months after a radical change of management (and management policy) that it had only two stark options with Lotus’s future: to hold an immediate fire-sale or develop the company to the extent of its potential. That was when the new Proton team began talking to Dany Bahar, then a sales and marketing chief at Ferrari in Maranello, and the plan took “maybe three months” to devise.

The new Lotus models, which Bahar insists will employ the purist engineering principles of lightness and simplicity pioneered by the earliest Lotuses by the company’s founder, Colin Chapman, will take the company from annual production of around 2700 sub-£40,000 cars, to between 6000 and 7000 cars costing between £80,000 and £120,000. Even the Elise replacement, by the time it reaches production in 2015, will have an entry price approaching £40,000.

Steve Cropley

Steve Cropley Autocar
Title: Editor-in-chief

Steve Cropley is the oldest of Autocar’s editorial team, or the most experienced if you want to be polite about it. He joined over 30 years ago, and has driven many cars and interviewed many people in half a century in the business. 

Cropley, who regards himself as the magazine’s “long stop”, has seen many changes since Autocar was a print-only affair, but claims that in such a fast moving environment he has little appetite for looking back. 

He has been surprised and delighted by the generous reception afforded the My Week In Cars podcast he makes with long suffering colleague Matt Prior, and calls it the most enjoyable part of his working week.

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Colonel Snappy 3 October 2010

Re: Lotus stuns Paris with six new models

every thing you say is right wrote:
It's a similar story with quality. A Kia Picanto is better built than any current model Lotus.

That's the problem with this move upmarket - have Lotus any idea how many engineers Porsche (for example) has working on mundane things like door and window seals? Because that's the kind of detail you have to get spot-on if you're going to sell cars at these projected prices.

every thing you... 3 October 2010

Re: Lotus stuns Paris with six new models

When I was 15 I remember Lotus announcing that their next car would have a chassis made of Aluminium and that it would be held together by glue. History is littered with other Lotus ideas that might've seemed a bit ridiculous at the time and now seem pretty commonplace; so, for the time being, I'm going to take their ambitious claims and projections at face value. I dare say there's a bit of froth and marketing speil in there for good measure.

However, underwhelming and instantly forgettable are not accusations that could be levelled at Ferrari's and Lamborghini's styling with any credibility.

It's a similar story with quality. A Kia Picanto is better built than any current model Lotus.

Address these issues first Lotus.

Lesia44 3 October 2010

Re: Lotus stuns Paris with six new models