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Lotus Model Spree Canceled, Esprit Still Likely

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On: Tue, Jul 31, 2012 at 3:02PM | By: Chris Weiss


Lotus Model Spree Canceled, Esprit Still Likely

There's been a lot of news coming out of Hethel lately, not all of it good. CEO and former Ferrari exec Dany Bahar was fired earlier this summer, and a lot of questions have surrounded Lotus' future. That future will not include the six models that had been announced at the 2010 Paris Motor Show, says a new report.

In Bahar's wake, DRB-Hicom, the Malysian company that purchased Lotus owner Proton earlier this year, has taken over operations of Lotus. According to reports originating in Malaysia, it has revealed a new business plan to creditors. The plan is called more realistic than Bahar's Paris 2010 plan, which is described as "basically unworkable."

While it's clear the plan will be more modest (i.e. we won't be seeing six new models over the next few years), it's not yet clear what it entails. Autocar speculates that the revived Esprit, the most intriguing of the six Paris concepts, might just survive because its development is the farthest along. However, the magazine believes Lotus may look outside of Hethel for its powertrain components, rather than using a new in-house V-8 or hybrid powertrain. We could see some of the more modest parts of the plan - like the new Elise and city car - making it through, but we're guessing the Eterne, Elite and Elan might be history.

The last we heard, Lotus was considering a 660-hp combination of V-8 engine and electric motor for the Esprit. It was supposed to debut at next year's Geneva Motor Show. A more powerful, lightweight, higher performance version without any hybrid unit was also reported.

Now that Lotus' future remains a question, we don't necessarily expect to see the Esprit in Geneva - or anytime next year. The frenzied pace at which Bahar's plan was moving has clearly slowed down, so we'll have to wait to see what Lotus' revised plan is all about.




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