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Lotus is back with 6 new models

posted on Oct 08 2010 by Gary Shapland

Lotus is back! The Norfolk firm outlines its future with six new models at Paris 2011.

These new Lotus models are all part of the Proton-owned company's plan to move upmarket, targeting brands such as Aston Martin and Ferrari.

The new Lotus range will be split into two new mid-engined sports cars keeping the traditional names of the Elan and the Esprit, and two new range-topping front-engined GT cars, the two-door 2+2 Elite and the larger four-door Eterne.

Lower down the range will be the new Elise and a super low-emission small car, with electric power and a range extending petrol engine, which is dubbed the New Compact Car.

Lotus boss Dany Bahar, who has been head of the company since October 2009 and has assembled a crack team of experts from Ferrari, AMG and Jaguar, explained the radical move: "Lotus has been neglected as a brand. Twenty years ago we were mentioned in the same breath as Ferrari and Lamborghini. But there has been no investment lately.

"So over the next 10 years we will invest 770m. Our new range will be world class, innovative, pioneering and green. They will be efficient with respect to the environment. And in terms of social acceptance.

"We have to adapt Lotus DNA to today's requirements. I have not seen it written down anywhere at Lotus that the engine has to be in the middle. Or that it cannot be in the front or in the rear.

"We will continue to follow performance through lightweight, but that doesn't mean that our cars must weigh less than 1,000kg. It means they are the lightest in their class. That is what performance through lightweight means to us."

All the new Lotus models show off the firm's new face. The front end features an oversized central air intake, flanked by slim LED headlights and twin lower air intakes. Incredibly, inspiration has come from the original Seven. "The existing two-dimensional grille [on the Evora and Elise] is not expressive enough. We need more sculpture and dignity, so we looked at the Seven - the way the grille worked with the headlights on the wings," said chief designer Donato Coco.

The new Lotus models will be built at a revamped plant in Hethel and Lotus is currently looking for government grants, which will help to create an estimated 1,200 jobs in the area. The first new Lotus models, likely to be the Esprit and Elan, will go on sale in two years time, through a totally refreshed dealer network. Lotus expects to sell 8,000 cars when at full capacity and break even on its investment in 2014.

Car Leasing and Contract Hire prices from GMC Leasing will be announced near the time.

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