In Depth

How Porsche Boxster-rivalling Elan will put Lotus back on the map

Two-seater sports car to spearhead decade-long product push

Lotus is planning to revive a host of old model names including the Elan in a bid to radically boost its product portfolio over the next ten years, according to reports. 

Insiders at the British sports-car manufacturer told Autocar that the Elan name - previously used for Lotus’ two-seater sports cars from the 1960s, 1970s and 1990s - may return “in the next few years”.

The motoring magazine says the revamped Elan is expected to take the form of a two-seater sports car, positioned above the lightweight Elise, and will go head-to-head with Porsche’s drop-top Boxster. 

The upcoming model isn’t the only new addition set to join the company’s line-up. Speaking to Auto Express earlier this year, Lotus chief Phil Popham said the marque was pumping money into “a pretty aggressive business plan that will deliver an all-new sports car next year”.

The company is “investing in new platforms” for both combustion-engine and battery-electric vehicles, he added.

The product push is part of the firm’s decade-long “Vision 80” strategy, funded by Chinese motoring giant and Lotus parent company Geely, Popham told Bloomberg.

The programme also includes £100m worth of improvements to the company’s production facility in Hethel, Norfolk, in order to lay the foundations for the firm’s portfolio expansion. 

What new Lotus models are in the pipeline?

In addition to the upcoming Elan, Lotus is planning to both revamp its existing range and introduce new products to its sports car line-up. 

The first stage of its strategy includes the replacement of the ageing Elise and Exige platform, which dates back to 1995, with all-new “rivet-bonded” architecture, says Autocar. The platform, due in the next two years, will also serve as the base of the next Evora. 

A “long-mooted” SUV will be launched in a bid to expand the company’s presence in international markets, particularly the US and China, and could become the firm’s “cash cow” - as the Cayenne and Macan were to Porsche, the magazine adds. 

Other classic names set to be revived include the Elite, Europa and Esprit, although when these models may arrive remains to be seen. 

What about electric cars?

Spearheading the marque’s push into the electric car realm is the ultra-exclusive Evija

Unveiled in London in July, the Evija takes the form of a £1.7m (before taxes) electric hypercar delivering 1,973bhp and 1,254lb-ft of torque, The Sunday Times’s Driving site reports. The most powerful Lotus ever made, only 130 examples are due to reach production.  

However, a cheaper all-electric model is expected to join the range next year, according to Auto Express.

That launch could play a significant role in helping Lotus achieve its goal of increasing sales from last year’s total of 1,630 to about 10,000 by 2029.

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