Lotus’s Last Combustion-Engined Car Will Be An ‘Accessible Sports Car’: Report

Lotus’s plan for the future is finally clarifying a bit; Bloomberg reports it is planning a car that “you can drive every day.” And it doesn’t sound like an SUV or crossover?

Bloomberg refers to it as an “accessible sports car,” which you might think means something like the Hyundai Veloster N. But (I think) Bloomberg actually is referring more to its price, which will be somewhere between $67,000 and $123,000, which is indeed very accessible, if you’re a regular reader of Bloomberg.

The key bits:

But unlike rivals such as Aston Martin and Lamborghini that have opted for sport-utility vehicles, Lotus will first produce an accessible sports car — though one with enough interior space to be compatible with every-day use. That’s a departure from models like the wedge-shaped Esprit, driven underwater by film spy James Bond, that have typically been trotted out only at weekends or on the track.

Production will restart next month at Lotus’s plant in Hethel, England, as soon as the U.K. lifts its coronavirus lockdown, [Chief Executive Officer Phil Popham] said. A factory extension is being built to house the new model, which will be unveiled late this year or early in 2021.

Fans of Lotus will feel somewhat Groundhog Day’d as an “accessible sports car” was what Lotus positioned the Evora as, to say nothing of the Europa a few years before that.

The new practical Lotus’s design will be modeled after the upcoming Evija. The company announced the Evija last year, with nearly 2,000 horsepower and the very inaccessible price of at least $2.3 million. This new car seems to fit in (sort of) with the strategy that Lotus parent Geely has pursed with Polestar, which produces or is planning to produce the $155,000 Polestar 1—aimed at rich people—and the $63,000 Polestar 2—aimed at people who are only a little rich.

Somewhat intriguingly, Popham didn’t rule out more new Lotuses (Loti) in the future, perhaps one like the Polestar 3.

“It’s not as if we have to generate all the money ourselves to invest in our future,” the CEO said, adding that future options could include an SUV, crossover, cruiser or sporting saloon. “Our focus now is on sports cars but we do think the brand has the potential to move into other segments. And Geely has expertize in areas such as electrification and autonomous driving.”

Volvo has flourished under Geely’s stewardship while Lotus has just been kind of in a holding pattern. Given Volvo’s success, it’s hard to count Lotus out, though going from making 1,600 cars a year to 5,000—as Bloomberg says Lotus now aspires to—is ambitious, even if, thanks to Geely, Lotus is now playing with house money.

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