Hethel is getting into the personalization business with the launch of its new Lotus Exclusive program, available on new and existing models this year.
If it seems to you like every sports car manufacturer is getting into the crossover game, that's because it's pretty much true. And now, we potentially have one more to add to the list, as Britain's Car magazine reports that Lotus – yes, Lotus – is proceeding with plans to build a crossover.
The trials and tribulations at Lotus over the past several years haven't put the company in best financial position, and after the dismissal of Dany Bahar as CEO, the automaker seemed rudderless. Jean-Marc Gales (pictured above) is the new captain at the helm of the British sports car brand, and he seems like the complete opposite of Bahar. Where the former boss was hugely ambitious (perhaps overly), the current CEO has crafted a plan for a gradual turnaround under what he called a "logic-based"
It's not been a great week for Lotus. Seven days ago, the UK-based automaker laid off a quarter of its workforce, terminating "up to 325 jobs." And then, just a few days ago, it was reported that the company would be ending US sales of its well-received Evora due to the expiration of an airbag exemption. The Evora is the only vehicle Lotus sells in the US, meaning its end effectively removes the brand from the market.
Lotus is recalling 860 vehicles after discovering that the oil cooler hose could detach from its fitting. Should the hose separate, it could spray oil on one of the lightweight car's tires, giving new meaning to the phrase "sudden loss of grip." The other case is, believe or not, more dire, as the spraying oil could hit the engine and ignite. Of course, neither situation is desirable, hence the recall.
New, Southern California-based supercar maker Bulleta Motors says it has launched the Lotus Evora-based RF22, its first vehicle. If the car allegedly designed by Samir Sadikhov also reminds you of the Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor fighter jet, then the RF22 successfully embodies its inspiration. Maybe a little too much; the jet struggled with oxygen-delivery and software problems through the long course of its development, and Bulleta seems to be facing an existential crisis in the early going.
Last year about 80 examples of the 2011 Lotus Evora S were recalled over an issue with the oil feed pipe. The same number of 2011 Evora S', but with different manufacture dates, are back in the recall box again for a very similar issue; this time it's the engine oil cooler hose that could rupture and spray oil either onto the rear wheels or a hot engine part. Neither of those cases is good, and the latter could potentially lead to a fire.
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."
Some would say Lotus has some credibility among the green-car set since it supplied the body for the Tesla Roadster and has always been obsessed with extracting maximum performance from light weight. Now, our friends at Green Car Reports are suggesting that the UK boutique sportscar operation could lose that reputation by simulating the acceleration of a conventional geared transmission for its Evora 414E extended-range plug-in.