Last week brought news of the massive restructuring efforts at Lotus that resulted in the English sports car manufacturer laying off nearly a quarter of its workforce. This week, the brand’s US fans have just been dealt another bout of bad news- the brand is likely leaving our shores within due time.
With the entry of the new Evora into the US market a couple of years ago, Lotus withdrew the Exige and Elise from the US, due to the fact that their platforms were aging, citing it wasn’t worth the effort to modernize the cars for the US market amid dismal sales. This left the Evora as the lone representative of the Lotus brand in America. However, we have news that even the Evora will be going away.
A series of new airbag regulations in the US require a new generation of smart airbags to be installed in most cars of this segment. In fact, that was one of the reasons the Exige and Elise left the US. Lotus saw the Evora as being worth the fix, and applied for a one year extension to correct the car’s noncompliance. The one year extension is about to expire, however, and, citing Lotus’ recent financial troubles, the company has opted that it’s not worth investing the money in the model to fix it. This makes sense on some level, as sales are dismal for the Evora, and the brand’s fan base is on the wane.
Lotus cars will still be available in some form, as track oriented variants of the Exige and Elise are still available and being sold in the US. These models are not street spec, however, and are predominantly constrained to the track. Don’t expect this to continue too much longer though, as it’s unlikely the brand will be able to sustain itself here for long only selling track cars.