Lotus Cars has announced that the Emira sports car will be its next and final internal combustion model as it prepares itself to become an exclusively electric brand. The historically British manufacturer says its Chinese owners, the Zhejiang Geely Holding Group, are preparing a cash injection of $2.8 billion to swap to EVs and expand its footprint.
While the present market makes those items feel as though they could conflict with each other, Lotus thinks that the climate will be different a few years from now and plans on going EV only by 2028. In the meantime, the Emira is scheduled to launch in July.
While the Rare Rides series has featured a few Lotus vehicles in past, none of them rose quite to the importance of today’s single-seat example. A one-of-one, it’s the car Lotus used in the 1981 Formula One racing series.
And now you can buy it, and drive it on quick jaunts to Target or Cracker Barrel.
A strange coincidence today — as exotic-obsessed auto journos took to Twitter to drool over Caterham’s latest iteration of the classic Lotus Seven roadster (and rightly so, as motoring doesn’t get any purer), Lotus itself may be planning to resurrect a famous nameplate from the past.
This model’s a little more modern than the Seven, but only just. According to sources who spoke to Autocar, the British automaker, now flush with cash from its Chinese parent, has its eye on a new Elan.
While Lotus Cars’ world premiere of the Evija hypercar was easily the biggest announcement made by the company in the past ten years, another major announcement slipped in beneath the radar this week. Apparently, Lotus has a new logo.
Whilst browsing the brand’s latest press releases, we noticed it had uploaded some new photos of the Evija and a gaggle of snapshots from its new partnership with the Norwich City Football Club. Despite European soccer sponsorships holding this author’s interest about as well as a sieve holds water, something looked a little off about the Lotus emblem emblazoned on the Evora and Exige models parked outside of the renamed “Lotus Training Centre.”
Why Lotus decided to bury its new branding announcement deep within a press release about its favorite sports club is anybody’s guess. Perhaps it felt the changes to the logo weren’t extreme enough to warrant a separate announcement.
Lotus has finally revealed its new halo vehicle, the Evija, claiming it will become “the world’s most powerful production car.” However, due to the Evija’s extremely limited availability and 1.7 million-pound ($2.1 million) price, there’s a lot undercutting that claim. It also leads Lotus away from its role as a scrappy underdog, delivering stripped-down featherweights designed to embarrass similarly priced sporting vehicles with more luxurious amenities.
When you think of present-day Lotus, you don’t typically think grandiose — but that term sums up the Evija rather well. Lotus Cars CEO Phil Popham said it would be like nothing else and “re-establish our brand in the hearts and minds of sports car fans and on the global automotive stage,” while simultaneously paving the way for new models.
Lotus hasn’t delivered an entirely new model since the Evora debuted over ten years ago. The clock will reset come July 16th, when the company unveils the Type 130 in central London. Approved by Chinese-parent Geely and shrouded in secrecy, the 130 will represent a major change for Lotus as the brand’s first all-electric hypercar.
However, the baby is reportedly not being thrown out with the bathwater. The automaker has confirmed that the model will still be manufactured at its longstanding headquarters in Hethel, Norfolk, and remain hand-built by Britain’s finest.
The Rare Rides series has featured two Capri-adjacent vehicles in past: This car’s immediate predecessor, the ASC McLaren Capri, and its contemporary competitor, the Lotus Elan. Let’s find out how much better the final Capri was than either of those two (or not).
After Chinese auto giant Geely took a controlling stake in Lotus two years ago, the British brand has prepared itself for a turnaround. With a more stable financial footing secured, Lotus can be whatever it wants to be.
Enthusiasts want it to remain Lotus, only with an actual range of vehicles on offer. Group Lotus’ CEO, who also happens to be Geely’s chief technology officer, knows what he wants the brand to mimic: Porsche. Feng Qingfeng has great fondness for the brand’s would-be rival, calling its products “wonderful.”
It seems he’s also okay with an SUV.
The Rare Rides series has featured a couple Lotus-related items before. The first was this Isuzu I-Mark RS, which was an Isuzu with some Lotus badges on it. Then came the Elite, which was a real Lotus. Today we take a look at the Elan, which mixes it up with Lotus badges and an Isuzu engine.
In its quest to gain a loftier status among the sporty, well-to-do set, Lotus Cars spent the year poaching talent from other British automakers. China’s Geely, which holds a majority stake in the automaker, is expected to loosen the purse strings in pursuit of new models and a greater premium market share, but the human side of the operation needs to be in place before that occurs.
While former Bentley and Aston Martin execs have already hopped on board, the automaker now has a former top Jaguar Land Rover official in the big office, ready to put plans into action. He’s also no stranger to SUVs — a segment Lotus wants a piece of.
Zhejiang Geely Holding Group, the massive Chinese conglomerate that owns Volvo Cars and a controlling stake in Lotus, wants to turn the British sports car maker into a big deal. Potentially, a deal big enough to give Porsche bouts of anxiety.
That’s what sources with knowledge of Geely’s plans tell Bloomberg. The parent company’s efforts will reportedly include new facilities and assembly plants, funded by a cash injection totalling nearly $2 billion.
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