Lotus’ 1100 UK manufacturing jobs are safe, according to the CEO of DRB-HICOM, Aslam Farikullah, who recently acquired Lotus Cars. Farikullah denied rumors that his company planned to either sell Lotus or move production to Malaysia. “Lotus is a UK marque and, as such, Hethel is our home. Not only is Lotus important to the UK economy, but also to the region here in Norfolk.”
That’s great news for Lotus fans, but it’s just the tip of the good-news iceberg (there’s a good-news iceberg). The really really good news is that Lotus’ new owners have turned their backs on plans to produce tiny city cars and bloated grand-tourers, and have committed to taking the company back to its roots as builders of ultralight sportscars – starting with the return of the company’s iconic Esprit. Granted, the Esprit may only be “iconic” to guys born in the late 70s to early 80s and/or women in their 30s who remember it as “the Pretty Woman car“, but I meet at least one of those criteria, so we’re all good.
If the new Lotus “I am a car guy” CEO can be trusted to learn from the mistakes of the out-going “I am not a car guy” CEO Dany Bahar, then the new Esprit is likely to make use of one of Toyota/Lexus’ more powerful hybrid drive systems, as opposed to the company’s own DOHC twin-turbo V8, which should keep the new Esprit’s costs down, the company’s profits up, and improve the general quality of life for Lotus owners looking for a place to service their cars.
You can check out some photos of the new Esprit, in concept form, below. Here’s hoping some other recent Lotus flex-fuel and hybrid/range-extending EV innovations get to see the light of day soon after.
Source | Photos: AutoExpress, via Teamspeed.