Will it still even be called Elise?
One thing is for certain: Lotus will live on. Thanks to an infusion of Chinese money from new parent company Geely, Lotus appears to have excellent prospects. Speaking to Top Gear, CEO Jean-Marc Gales confirmed that not only will he continue at his post, but he now has more resources to work with. What does that mean, exactly? Before the Geely acquisition, Lotus was working on a new Elise. Thanks to Gales' excellent management, Lotus managed to make a profit, though a small one. It was enough to move forward with a 2020 redesign.
The Elise name was also supposed to carry on. Or will it? “We’re now reviewing the whole model plan. A new plan will be ready early next spring,” Gales told TG. ‘Review’ is the key word here because it often translates to product elimination. “The Elise isn’t cancelled. Certainly not,” Gales continued. “But now we will be able to do something different, improved. It might not be called Elise. Everything is up for discussion. Not one new sports car, a few. Whatever we planned to do will become better.” The original plan for the 2020 Elise was for it to be instantly recognizable as an Elise, though it’d be slightly bigger in order to make it compliant with US safety regulations.
It’d also have an aluminum structure and outstanding handling capabilities. Sounds more than good enough to us, so why alter that? It’s quite simple, really: there’s more money now. Gales and his team of engineers can think bigger and consider possibilities that weren’t possible only a year or so ago. “We now have an automotive giant on our side,” Gales proudly said. Honestly though, we find it hard to imagine a future Lotus sports car that doesn’t go by founder Colin Chapman’s “simplify, then add lightness” philosophy. Even if the new Elise (or some other name beginning with the letter ‘E’) grows in size, it’s still a Lotus and that carries certain basic requirements.