So yesterday Lotus released their 2018 sales numbers, and confirmed that it has been their best year since 2011. Now, those of you with a good memory remember that 2011 and the couple of years that followed were a tumultuous time for the British sports car maker. That was the time they planned a major overhaul of their lineup, which as you may remember backfired spectacularly. But we reckon it is now time they actually went back to those files and revived the plans they had set in motion back in 2009.
There were big things cooking up at Norfolk ten years ago. Having emerged from the 2008 recession largely unscathed, Lotus was planning a leap forward through the introduction of fancy new versions of their established model. There were even serious talks of reviving some of the legendary models of the yesteryear, namely the mighty Espirit. And those really were more than just plans on a paper. Lotus had got themselves a new manager called Dany Bahar – who later on was fired and pretty much vanished from the automotive radar altogether – and they had set aside a lot of cash to turn those plans into reality.
Sadly though, most of that money was spent on useless publicity stunts and the plans were shelved amid a crisis that threatened the very existence of the company. Not only did we not get a new Elise and Espirit, there hasn’t even been a decent facelift to any of the models in the lineup since then. All we got from Lotus the past ten years were slight modifications to the current range and some forgettable motorsport activity. That was it. It has gotten to a point where frankly we get a bit sick looking at the Evora, and even the awesome Elise is starting to look a bit boring.
But, as we said, 2018 was a good year for Lotus with a record 1,630 cars sold worldwide. I know, that is not a lot by the standards of the big car makers. But for a small manufacturer of specialty models, that’s actually pretty good. But that is not the only reason we think Lotus is ready now to bring out and dust off the old plans for a major renovation of their models. The steady increase in sales number is a solid indication that the company is now moving in the right direction. Granted, it is doing so under the auspices of the Chinese Geely. But whatever those industrious people are doing with the company, it’s working. Lotus has even bagged a respected auto and luxury-sector leader, Phil Popham, joining as CEO. And he actually knows how to run a business, unlike that guy Bahar.
It makes a lot of sense. A brand-new Lotus Espirit with modern technology,maybe even a hybrid engine, boasting cool looks and that special Lotus sauce could take the sports car market by storm. Lotus should definitely use this momentum to lift itself to the premier league. They’ve been in the third division long enough.