Lotus: No Cash For New Models Yet, But Big Evora Update Coming Photo:
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Mike Stevens | Nov, 24 2014 | 5 Comments

Former Lotus boss Dany Bahar’s dream of an all-new range by 2015 is now little more than a fading memory, but new chief Jean-Marc Gales remains optimistic for the struggling sports brand’s future.

In an interview with the UK’s Autocar this week, Mr Gales spoke of his “logic-based” recovery plan that will focus on efficiency and technology to bring Lotus out of its long-running profit slump.

That plan has already resulted in 300 “very regrettable” redundancies across the carmaker’s 1200-strong workforce, a move which, Gales says, will allow Lotus to take the next step towards recovery.

“Now we are 900 people, and this year we will make around 2000 cars. Next year the figure should be 3000 cars, then 3000 for several more years. This will change the equation completely,” he said.

Gales has also revealed in recent months that he is exploring the potential for new passenger-car options to boost sales volume, working together with parent Proton on advanced new technologies that will ultimately push both brands into a more competitive position.

For the immediate future, however, the carmaker will continue on with its existing models and platforms.

“We won’t have the funds to build all-new cars in the next few years, [but] our existing platforms have plenty of potential,” Gales said.

Thankfully for fans and buyers, the brand will get an important boost next year when it reveals a heavily upgraded version of its five year-old Evora at March’s Geneva Motor Show.

The Evora’s current look is the work of Russell Carr, recently restored to the top design job at Lotus after Bahar booted him in 2009, and it will be his handiwork that we’ll see next year.

Gales says the Evora will get new looks and features inside and out, but perhaps more importantly, it will also deliver around 15 percent more power and - in the words of Lotus founder Colin Chapman - more “lightness”.

That “logic-based” plan has even seen the creation of a new ‘Lightweight Lab’, where the Evora’s team have stripped the coupe down to its bones and labelled each part so that staff can study and suggest ways to lighten each item and reduce the number of components.

The updated Evora will be far more athletic, Gales said, promising that it will out-drive a number of key Porsche models.

Likewise, the Exige will get another major upgrade in 2016, bringing more powerful and another drop in weight.

The Lotus story has been a sorry tale for many years now, but with Gales at the helm, it seems the carmaker’s fortunes will soon change.

“This brand is like a sleeping princess,” Gales told Autocar, “but I believe she is starting to wake up.”

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