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Lotus Plans New Supercar Concept For Paris Motor Show

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On: Thu, Jul 22, 2010 at 2:28PM | By: Chris Weiss

Lotus Plans New Supercar Concept For Paris Motor Show

Six years ago, British automotive company Lotus saddened car fans everywhere when it discontinued its iconic Esprit sports coupe. The plan at the time was to refocus the brand on smaller, lighter, more affordable vehicles. While models like the Elise, Evora, and Exige have opened the Lotus badge to a new breed of buyers, the Esprit has been sorely missed. Rumors have been loudening that Lotus plans on showing an Esprit concept at the upcoming 2010 Paris Motor Show. Today, Lotus confirmed that it has a supercar concept planned, but hinted that it may be even more intriguing than a new Esprit.

The Norfolk-based automaker stated that the supercar concept it brings to Paris may be "perhaps even more” than a simple Esprit revival, indicating that Lotus may move even farther upmarket. Under the leadership of former Ferrari executive Danny Bahar and a handful of other transplants from Ferrari, Aston Martin, and Porsche, it's understood that Lotus plans to make a decisive move toward Porsche and Ferrari territory. Lotus didn't reveal any details about the upcoming concept, but indicated it will provide a clear outline of the brand's intended future direction.

The Lotus Esprit made its debut at the Paris Motor Show in 1975 and went through several redesigns and a dozen models before being discontinued nearly 30 years late, in 2004. During its life cycle, the car went through continual evolutions in engine capabilities, and in its most recent incarnation, it sported a twin-turbocharged V8 engine. More than 10,000 Esprits were built during its run.

The new supercar will be one of four concepts that Lotus shows at the Paris Motor Show. The models will highlight Lotus's new direction, which the company's Malaysian owner, Proton, hopes to use to bolster profitability. Last month, company executives gave a sneak preview of what they're calling "the dawn of a new era." The shift will move away from the "lightweight and simple" ethos that underpinned Lotus's current generation of vehicles, toward more exotic materials and technology that follow the motto "Tomorrow’s luxury sports car, today." The price of the next generation of Lotus sports cars will reflect the new focus, with expectations indicating a £80,000-£110,000 average ($122,000 to $167,000). At the same time, Lotus will boost production numbers and expand into new markets.

While steering into the 180-degree turnaround, Lotus will continue to produce current models like the Elise and Exige. Only the new models will reflect the upmarket mentality.

The other three concepts are rumored to include two GT cars and a roadster. Further details of the company's five-year plans will be provided at Paris. More importantly, we'll get a sneak peek at the styling of the future generation of Lotus sports cars.

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