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Apparently encouraged by media response to their APX sport utility vehicle concept, which debuted at the Geneva Motor Show, Lotus has developed a unique ultralight sport truck.

Although owing much to the ground-breaking Chevy El Camino and Ford Ranchero pickup/passenger car combinations, the Lotus concept has been updated for the carbon-fiber millenium to produce what must be the world's lightest truck.

With a nod to the U.S. target market, the Elise-based sport truck is powered by a lightweight American ultra-small-block engine, with supercharging by Lotus Engineering.

Full press release after the jump.
[Source: Lotus Cars] Official Lotus Press Release:

Lotus announce first Elise-based pickup


    Lotus Cars is delighted to announce that its first light commercial
vehicle rolls off the production line today.

    The Lotus Elise 'Load Lugga' is an Elise-derived flatbed that seeks
to secure a slice of the ever-growing worldwide market for sportscar-derived
pickup trucks.

    Utilising a Briggs and Stratton pull-start diesel engine, uniquely
supercharged by Lotus's own engineers, the Elise 'Load Lugga' is the first
Lotus to marry advanced 4-wheel drive technology with the Lotus design
philosophy of 'performance through lightweight'.  A useful 5kg payload,
together with an optional towing hitch offering a further 10kg of
load-hauling capacity, ensures the new Lotus will be equally at home
carrying a small bag of sugar as an expanded polystyrene surfboard.

    With carbon fibre roof rails and perforated aluminium bull bars
ensuring the new Elise derivative looks the part without compromising
performance, hopes are high that 0-60mph acceleration is less than 3
seconds, and will have flatbed fans reaching for their chequebooks.

    An active payload management system, linked to the engine's oil
pressure control module, optimises ride and handling round even the sharpest
bend, while big chunky tyres increase ground clearance to an
all-terrain-conquering 4 inches.

    Trevor Houghton-Berry, Lotus Head of Commercial Operations looked to
the future 'The Elise 'Load Lugga' is our first move into the lucrative LCV
market and certainly lives up to the Lotus philosophy of 'change the rules'.
We like trucking and we like to truck!'

    Mark O'Shaughnessy, Lotus USA Sales and Marketing Director
commented, 'We can no longer ignore Lotus's big opportunity in the pickup
market - we want a slice of the action and are gunning for a 0.0026% market
share this year and 0.0027% next.  The Elise 'Load Lugga' will be known as
the F1.50 stateside and we are set to take the market by storm.  200 Lotus
Elise F1.50's in the first year?  Bring them on.........'

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