New Lotus CEO Jean-Marc Gales has just made the painful decision of eliminating a quarter of the automaker’s global workforce, but he has further tough calls to make including the possibility of parts sharing with parent company Proton. In the near term Lotus will upgrade its existing trio of sports cars—Elise, Exige and Evora—and hopefully get production up to around double where it is now. In the longer term, it’s not so clear, even for Lotus, what will happen.
It recently came to light that Lotus is looking to expand into more mainstream segments to help boost its sales, with a sedan and a SUV among the possibilities. But developing these models from scratch will be extremely difficult for cash-strapped Lotus, which is where parts sharing with Proton comes into the picture.
“If we’re looking at four to six years in the future then our partner is Proton,” Gales revealed to Car and Driver. “Proton is a volume manufacturer and has parts modules that we could use for future models.”
But Proton’s lineup consists of a range of front-wheel-drive economy cars, which makes you wonder what Lotus could actually borrow from its parent. Gales didn’t go into detail but said any vehicle launched by Lotus would have to be “a real Lotus,” meaning it would have to have the best ride and handling in its class.
But before any all-new Lotuses arrives there will be updated versions of the current lineup, some of which will even be offered in the U.S. While it’s true there won’t be an Evora offered locally for the 2015 model year, an updated version of the car with new styling and an improved interior will return for 2016. There may even be an Evora convertible as well. Sadly, an Esprit supercar won’t be among the new lineup.