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After 25 years, Lotus is killing the Elise, Exige and Evora, the cars that saved the company

Lotus Cars Limited has announced that it will begin production of a new series of sports cars including the Type 131. Unfortunately, the British brand will stop production of its Elise, Exige and Evora by the end this year.

The new lineup of vehicles will be manufactured at its new facility in Hethel, Norfolk in England. The new investment is part of Lotus’ Vision80 strategy where it will combine two Lotus sub-assembly facilities into one efficient central operation in Norwich city to support higher volumes.

As shown above, Lotus has released a teaser which provides a glimpse of the new products that will follow the Elise, Exige and Evora. The three iconic models will receive a proper send-off with a host of activities planned starting with the Lotus Elise.

Lotus Elise Series 1
Source: Lotus Cars

The Lotus Elise is a rear-wheel drive mid-engine roadster that was introduced in 1996 and it was regarded as the vehicle that saved the company. Despite having a Rover 1.8L 4-cyclinder engine with 118bhp, the Elise Series 1 can go from 0-100km/h in under 6 seconds.

Lotus Elise Malaysia
Source: Wayne Phang

The vehicle was also assembled locally in Shah Alam when Lotus was under the ownership of Proton. It was priced locally at RM195,000 and local production had ended in 2002. In case you didn’t know, the first gen Tesla Roadster was based on the Lotus Elise.

The Lotus Exige was launched in 2000, followed by the Evora in 2008. The trio had greatly contributed to the Lotus business and they have sold around 55,000 units combined.

Lotus Cars CEO, Phil Popham said, “This year will be hugely significant for Lotus with new facilities coming on stream, a new sports car entering production and new levels of efficiency and quality that only a new car design and factory can deliver. Despite the continuing global challenges, Lotus has emerged from 2020 strong and on track in the delivery of our Vision80 business plan.”

SEE ALSO:  Proton is launching Saga, Persona, Iriz and Exora special editions on 18 Feb 2021

He added, “As our Vision80 strategy illustrates, Lotus is all about looking forward, and our future is full of continuous innovation. In 2021, however, we will be reflecting on the legacy of our current range, starting with the Elise, a sports car that genuinely revolutionised the automotive industry, not only because it is a legend-in-its-own-lifetime but also for its impact on car design and technology.”

Lotus is currently jointly owned by Geely (51%) and Syed Mokhtar’s Etika Automotive Sdn Bhd (49%). DRB-Hicom had sold the company for GBP 100 million (about RM556 million) in 2017.

For a refresher of the British sports car company, you can check out the video below:


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Alexander Wong