And now, another take on the automotive markets of today.
Lotus, it seems, will eventually go bankrupt, leaving either somebody, or nobody to pick up the pieces. Their production models, as they are, will not sustain growth, and with the ousting of CEO Danny Bahar, it seems that Lotus has lost their ambition to move forward and increase profits.
Currently, Lotus only manufactures 2 vehicles, the Evora and the Elise (the Exige is really just an Elise variant). The Evora was Lotus' attempt to stick its nose up Porsche's exhaust just before Volkswagen pulled the DRS and sped the historic German brand into new markets. Meanwhile, Lotus continues to manufacture the outdated Elise. Now, I love the Elise as much as the next Jalop, but its market has been shrinking since the burst of track-day cars hit the circuit; why buy an old Elise when you can buy a genuinely track-focused Caterham or Ariel Atom?
Many people have competing ideas for what is best for Lotus. Danny Bahar's plan for five whole new models would have shifted the ideology of the brand in front of Ferrari's den (poking the bear, if you will). Not until recently did I see the merit in keeping with Colin Chapman's ethos. I definitely wanted to see those models come to fruition. They did look better than Ferrari's offerings, until recently.
This video by Harry Metcalfe shows the genius behind Colin Chapman's particular way of engineering. I am now convinced that Lotus needs to keep this theology alive. The purest form of automotive enthusiasm only comes with stripping out all of the unnecessary weight.
I still would like to see at least one of the 'Bahar Lotus models' on the road, perhaps with some tweaking to lower the weight. The Elise absolutely needs a refresh, one way or another. It seems the Esprit is still a go, but if anyone knows differently please let me know. I am still confused at what models are going where.
Lotus needs a stronger parent company to take the wheel for any of our children to have a hope of knowing the Chapman way. Lotus will be able to spend their employees' time working out the chassis strength and shaving weight, while cutting costs by using their parent company's switch gear and engines. We, the consumers, will get the best of both worlds: great handling, great acceleration, an actual interior, all with lower prices than Lotus could manage on their own.
With the Lotus F1 team winning races and generating attention to the 'Lotus' name, there is no better time for the automotive company to create this new line up. There is just one problem: they need money to move forward. Proton is not doing the job they need to keep Lotus afloat, so I pose the question: Who should buy Lotus, and in what direction should they take the company?
[Images from lotusespritturbo.com, but I'm pretty sure they're just press images from Lotus, themsleves]