Lotus Cancels New Esprit

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Under new management, Lotus may be entering a new era, but we can't say the same for its products.

Lotus is a company dominated by eras. There was the post-war era of Colin Chapman who founded the marque and turned the world on to the concept of "adding lightness". After his death in 1982 the company went through a series of owners (including General Motors and Romano Artioli's Bugatti) before Malaysian automaker Proton took control. Then came the Dany Bahar era. The former Red Bull and Ferrari exec launched an overly-ambitious plan for Lotus at the 2010 Paris Motor Show that entailed a whole raft of new products.

Bahar's era, however, came crashing down when DRB-Hicom took over. Bahar was sacked for misappropriating funds, and with him have gone all his plans. Although DRB-Hicom was initially expected to keep just one of Bahar's planned projects (the new Esprit) on the table, reports now indicate that even that has been axed. As a result, Lotus will carry on with the current Elise, Exige and Evora. Although the Evora arrived in 2008 as a completely new product, the Elise and Exige have been around essentially since 1995 when Romano Artioli named the car after his granddaughter. So while Lotus itself may be entering a new era, its vehicles are not.

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