New Lotus SUV and sedan models could debut sometime around 2017, reports suggest, but the Esprit badge is unlikely to return in the foreseeable future.
That’s the word from new Lotus CEO, Jean-Marc Gales, speaking with the UK’s Auto Express in an extended interview.
“They have a lot of life left, these cars - nobody has found a better way to combine light weight, ride and handling,” Mr Gales said.
“With derivatives there are many things we can think of, and I wouldn’t exclude anything right now because the Lotus principles apply to every segment."
"We think about performance enhancements of course, ride and handling enhancements and we will take further weight out of the cars without compromise - we want future Lotuses to be easier to live with and easier to get in and out.”
While Mr Gales jokingly ruled out commercial vehicles from a future Lotus line-up, he stressed that most other segments are still on the table; provided they can satisfy the brand's “core values”.
These values reportedly extend to the future SUV model.
Mr Gales said he believes the new model will still be ‘a real Lotus’, despite the considerable handling and weight challenges SUV designers usually have to contend with.
“If Lotus does an SUV or a four-door saloon it will be light, performance-led and it will have outstanding looks. This is what we want and this is in line with our heritage.” Mr Gales said.
While the Esprit sports car was rumoured to be close to production before previous CEO Dany Bahar departed, Gales was firm in saying that the ‘new’ Lotus will not pick up where Bahar left off.
He added however that certain technical aspects from the Esprit project, and other projects, may be seen in the future.
The carmaker is still planning to cut up to 325 jobs from its worldwide workforce (around a quarter of its current staff), but Gales said he hoped it would be fewer.
News of a future SUV and sedan for Lotus first broke last month, sparking hopes that the sedan would be the spiritual successor to the Vauxhall Lotus Carlton.
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Pictured, top of page: The Lotus APX Concept from 2006