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9

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.

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It's been three years now since Lotus stopped selling the Elise and Exige in North America, leaving the Evora as its only model available Stateside. But according to the latest from Car and Driver, even that model is on its way out.

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Lotus has issued a press release to day, wherein it indicates that a "need to both reshape its organisation and to reduce costs" may result in the loss of "up to 325" jobs. That's a fairly significant number of layoffs for any company, but considering that Lotus currently employs 1,215 people (per the company's bio in the same release), it could mean a full 25-percent of the automaker's workers could soon be sharpening their resumes.

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Head on over to the Lotus website, and though the Elise isn't offered in the United States anymore, buyers in other markets can choose between numerous models: there's the base Elise, the Elise Club Racer, the Elise S and the Elise S Club Racer, and that's before even getting into the even more extreme Exige that's also based on the Elise. Track-day enthusiasts can also go for the full-on Elise S Cup R, but now the British sportscar manufacturer has confirmed a new variant.

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These days most of the news out of Lotus comes when it releases a lighter or faster version of the Elise, Exige or Evora. However, the stripped-out, Elise-based 340R might already show the logical conclusion of that concept, despite coming out in 2000. Now, one of the 340 made is up for auction on eBay Motors, and the seller in Fort Lauderdale, FL, claims that it's the only street-legal example available in the US.

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Lotus has been in limbo in recent years. After former CEO Dany Bahar revealed his plans to build six new models, its parent company was sold, Bahar was sacked, his plans were canceled and a new CEO was hired in the form of former Peugeot chief Jean-Marc Gales. The industry has been waiting ever since to find out what Gales would do with the storied marque, and now we seem to have some indication.

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If we had a nickel for every version of the Elise that Lotus has rolled out over the years, we might actually have enough spare change to buy one ourselves. And we're not even talking about the entire separate models (like the Exige and Europa) that Lotus has based on the Elise's platform or the other automakers' cars (like the Tesla Roadster and Hennessey Venom GT) that have used the same. And now Lotus appears to be testing another one.

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Remember a couple of months ago when a mischievous Stig broke into the Lotus racing headquarters in Enstone and made off with an F1 car? Well, now we know where he went with it.

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What separates a road car from a race car? You're looking at it. It's the Lotus Exige V6 Cup, a model based on what is already one of the most hardcore performance machines on the road, albeit upgraded to an even harder-core spec. It's a good 130 pounds lighter than the Exige S (a vehicle which didn't have much flab to trim in the first place) and can hit 60 in under four seconds. With the notably exception of certain versions of the Porsche 911, there aren't a lot of six-cylinder cars that can

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With only three manufacturers supplying engines in Formula One this season, the teams have been fairly evenly split: Ferrari, Sauber and Marussia use Ferrari engines; Mercedes, McLaren, Williams and Force India run on Mercedes power; Red Bull, Toro Rosso, Lotus and Caterham employ Renault power units. But one important team is reportedly preparing to ditch Renault and switch to Mercedes for next year.

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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.

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The Lotus Elise has given birth to some seriously fast and varied machinery. Aside from Lotus' own models like the Exige, 2-Eleven, 340R and Europa, electric vehicles like the Tesla Roadster, not to mention the never-released Dodge Circuit and Detroit Electric SP:01, are all based on the Elise's platform. As were/are the Melkus RS 2000, the Opel Speedster/Vauxhall VX220 and the Hennessey Venom GT. But this could be the most extreme use of the lightweight chassis yet.

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As we scrolled down the roster of the latest car pack for Forza Motorsport 5, the Hot Wheels Car Pack, our expression became bemused over the strange mix of vehicles that we now have at our disposal. This is quite unlike any of the other sets of DLC Turn 10 Studios has offered.

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There's Some Life In The Fisher Building

Here's some news that will make the urban scavengers sifting through the ruins of the Motor City a little disappointed. Detroit Electric, the slow-moving electric-vehicle maker basing their wares off of a couple of Lotus models is employing people in Detroit. And some local vehicle production may follow.

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Detroit Electric is still on board to produce the Lotus Exige-based SP:01 electric sports car, which has been delayed more than once already. According to the carmaker, the SP:01 prototype is currently undergoing testing at a facility in Europe, as we can see in the above photo provided by Detroit Electric.

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As Top Gear's mysterious test driver, The Stig has driven just about everything on wheels – and more than a few things without. But an F1 car? That still remains a rarity, even on Top Gear.

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Lotus is at Le Mans this week where it has unveiled its new LMP1. Only it's not racing at Le Mans. And it's not really a Lotus, either.

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Lotus has announced a new, special edition of its hardcore Exige for customers in the UK and Europe. Limited to just 81 units (for the Lotus Formula One team's 81 victories), the new Exige LF1 is the ultimate accessory for fans of the British manufacturer's Formula One efforts.

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Being a Formula One driver has its privileges. First off, you get to drive F1 cars for a living. You get treated like royalty and fly around the world. And if you're lucky, you might get a supercar thrown at you once in a while. It all depends on which team you drive for.

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Five years after it began, it appears the Dany Bahar tenure at Lotus is finally over. After former Lotus owner Proton brought in the ex-Ferrari and Red Bull marketing savant to run the company in 2009, everything had gone pear-shaped by 2012: Proton had been sold to Malaysian auto supplier DRB-Hicom, who suspended Bahar and then fired him for what it said were expense-account transgressions (although Bob Lutz reportedly said something different).

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We can scratch off one more car from the list for the 2014 24 Hours of Le Mans. The Lotus T129 LMP1 car has been dropped from the entry list of the 82nd running of the historic race, with organizers citing "a lack of preparation" as the reason. On a more positive note, the list of 168 drivers in 56 vehicles has been officially published for the June 14 race.

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