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Good news...

Next-gen Lotus Elise and Esprit on track for 2012 launch

The next Esprit is expected to be built around an Evora chassis but with a V8 powerplant.
(From Motor Authority)
For Lotus fans, the next few years should prove to be very interesting times as the company pushes ahead with its five-year-plan to update its model lineup, including successors to the Elise and Esprit. The company has already unveiled its new Evora 2+2 car, but rather than sitting still with this car, it will be preparing a number of variants of this model, as well as new models.

A future Lotus Elise could be seen as early as 2011 according to anonymous insiders at Lotus who spoke with Autocar. This next-generation Elise will likely bring forward a number of current components into future models, rather than share its chassis with the Evora.

While the lithe Elise may not be suited to the Evora's chassis, the next-generation Esprit will likely be built on this platform but with a V8 engine providing power. While currently engineers are predicting a 2012 launch date for the new Esprit, whether or not the car gets built at all depends on whether sales of the Evora are successful.

Additionally, the new Evora convertible should be arriving at a similar timeline to the new Esprit, which should allow the company some wiggling room to decide which product will be released first - for instance, if the economy is still stagnating in a few years time, the company may choose to focus on the cheaper Evora convertible rather than the Esprit supercar.

All in all, Lotus is experiencing a renaissance of sorts with this raft of new models, and well-established rivals such as Porsche may just have to give the niche British sports carmaker a little more credit in the future.

Next-gen Lotus Elise and Esprit on track for 2012 launch - MotorAuthority - Car news, reviews, spy shots
 

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From Autocar...

Lotus is forging ahead with a new Elise and new Esprit, with predicted production dates of 2011 and 2012.

The Elise is most likely to be a development of today’s car, rather than a variant of the new Evora, which has a very different alloy chassis, and is heavier. Insiders say the Elise may be seen late in 2010, but sales won’t start until 2011.

Production of the Esprit is dependent on sufficient funds being generated by the Evora and, possibly, cash from an outside investor.

Despite that, engineers are still working towards a 2012 launch date. The Esprit will be a longer, wider version of the new Evora with a mid-mounted V8.

Read the Autocar verdict on the new Evora coupe

The Evora Convertible is also planned for 2012; it will be a two-seater and may be marketed as a different model.

Lotus’s engineering and production systems are understood to be flexible enough to allow a late decision on the order in which the Esprit or the Evora Convertible come to market.

If the recession recedes and demand for supercars picks up, expect Lotus to launch the Esprit ahead of the Evora convertible. But if the market is still depressed, expect the cheaper Evora soft-top to launch first.

The credit crunch is also likely to deal a blow to Lotus’s plans to double production to 8000 units per year by 2011, the target outlined in 2006 when Mike Kimberley took control.

Insiders are now predicting 4000 to 5000 Lotus-badged cars per year by 2011/12, while many of the firm's contract manufacturing jobs are put on hold by the recession.

Cooperation with Abarth on a sports car (an Evora rather than an Elise variant) has stalled. And the Europa-based Dodge Circuit electric car has been killed by the credit crunch.

However, there are understood to be other discussions with European OEMs. Lotus is also hoping for another electric car programme like the Tesla, which is built at Hethel.



Autocar - Lotus Esprit still on for 2012
 
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