It took 1.5 years, but a DRB-Hicom managing director told Malaysia's Business Times that the company has "cleaned up" the situation at Lotus from its finances to its marketing and image. The clean-up job we're most interested in, the product portfolio, will be demonstrated by financial investment in a three-year program of "variants based on existing products - variants with improved technology, improved performance."

You'll notice mention of the word "variants" three times but no mention of the phrase "new models." We knew that with the death of the five-new-model turnaround plan dreamed up by ex-Lotus CEO Dany Bahar DRB-Hicom said there'd only be three distinct lines - which is the current number - but during Lotus' trouble-plagued 2012 it sold just 80 cars all year, and for a tense spell it really wasn't clear if DRB-Hicom would commit to even keeping Lotus alive, much less investing in it.

It's not clear how much is being put into in the three-year program of offshoot models like the 345-horsepower Exige S Roadster (pictured), but it might be fair to say this is where Lotus' revival really begins, and does so with baby steps. Autocar reports that DRB-Hicom has already put 100 million pounds into the English carmaker, and as its issues were worked through Lotus has sold almost as many cars in the first five months of this year as it did all of last. That has not only convinced the Malaysian minders to throw more money its way, but the UK's business secretary has also approved a 10-million-pound investment into Lotus through the Regional Growth Facility program.

However, with the Evora and Elise the only other models to earn the "Definites" tag this could put us another three years away from the return of the Esprit. Last we heard it was ready save for a management sign-off, but it goes into reverse - again - to an underground garage called "nebulosity."


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 36 Comments
      The Wasp
      • 1 Year Ago
      I have not driven the Elise/Exige but I still consider it to be one of the most gorgeous and attractive sports cars in a fairly-reasonable price bracket for sale today. It's a shame they only sold 80 cars last year -- there are many far-less-respected outfits that sold more units than that.
        chest rockwell
        • 1 Year Ago
        @The Wasp
        The ritzy mall in Atlanta (Phipps) is always stacked with high end cars. I saw a new Exige parked inside next to other exotics, for 2 to 3 times the price, and the Lotus got more looks and pics than all the rest. Stunning for all the right reasons.
      360_AD
      • 1 Year Ago
      To paraphrase: We have no money for new models. But we still have to sell something (shut the doors), so we will sell new editions of existing old models.
      bonehead
      • 1 Year Ago
      Every other car company makes their cars off the Elise so why shouldnt Lotus make all its new cars off it too :P Ill just leave this here. http://michaelbanovsky.kinja.com/automakers-just-give-up-and-base-every-vehicle-on-the-470169780
      Drakkon
      • 1 Year Ago
      While I agree that Bahar seemed to be all hat and no cowboy, I did like the idea of five car line up. I could like without the top-most sedan, but the rest of the plans were just killer. Especially the Esprit.
        Jimmy
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Drakkon
        If they actually made those cars, Lotus would be my favorite brand.
      imag
      • 1 Year Ago
      Such a tragedy. The Esprit really could have been great, and a revised Evora that looked like that Elan with all the fit and finish folks that Bahar brought in would have been epic. One of the best cars Lotus ever made is the Exige V6 - and it can't even be legalized due to airbag issues. Brutal. I hope they make it through. They still have the best chassis engineers in the business.
      ELG
      • 1 Year Ago
      first off how about making the Evora weigh less than a corvette?
        • 1 Year Ago
        @ELG
        [blocked]
      Britt Benston
      • 1 Year Ago
      They have great platforms and power to match. Reliability has been tested over the years I would hope. Now if Giugiaro could do a few radical reskins, the same way the old Espirit became an "it" car over 35 years ago.
      • 1 Year Ago
      [blocked]
      digiboi
      • 1 Year Ago
      80 cars sold and probably all to exotic rental places. Only reason to buy a Lotus is to track it, and even there its a dog. On the streets, your spine will get crushed.
        SquareFour
        • 1 Year Ago
        @digiboi
        I suggest you drive an Evora.
        alkalinebay
        • 1 Year Ago
        @digiboi
        I would hardly call the 2012 Lotus Exige S a dog at the track nor the Exige s240 and S260 models!! You would need some serious cars to be those, Ferrari, Porsche GT3's, Z06 (carbons). All way more expensive than the Lotus's listed above and not as track focused.
      • 1 Year Ago
      [blocked]
        ELG
        • 1 Year Ago
        ha! then you really would have hated an exige or elise. Evora is a great car, very well put together with a great interior. too bad they didnt keep it light
          bonehead
          • 1 Year Ago
          @ELG
          Dude John you lived in an alternate 1996, no cars interior in 96 looks anywhere near as good as the Evora. Are you confusing it with the Elise/Exige? here lets actually look at 1996 interiors MR2 http://s1.cdn.autoevolution.com/images/gallery/TOYOTAMR2-3604_5.jpg 300Z http://image.superstreetonline.com/f/9279794/130_0712_07_z+nissan_300zx+interior_view.jpg and the lotus http://www.ridelust.com/wp-content/uploads/interior-lotus.jpg
          • 1 Year Ago
          @ELG
          [blocked]
      • 1 Year Ago
      [blocked]
      kmdk78
      • 1 Year Ago
      Saab 2
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