A few weeks ago, Lotus announced that they will be unveiling their final gasoline-powered sports car, the Emira. Set to debut this July, its arrival will mark the end of the Elise, Exige, and Evora. Remember, Lotus announced earlier this year that all three nameplates will be axed.
But it seems Elise might get a second chance at life. Lotus is apparently thinking of selling the platform and tooling of the Elise to another automaker.
According to a report by Automotive News Europe, Lotus Managing Director Matt Windle is open to the idea of selling the lightweight sports car. With its nimble handling, stylish looks, and lightweight architecture, it’s one of the best handling cars Lotus has ever made.
“If the right project and the right partner came along, I do not see why not. It's a wonderful car,” said Windle.
Initially, Lotus wanted to keep the Elise for the next few years. But with the company's manufacturing facility in Hethel becoming automated, they no longer have room for the hand-built sports car.
“We did deliberate around this a long time. The truth is that the whole of the manufacturing facility at Hethel is being transformed into an automated process. We just did not have the room to produce the Elise,” added Windle.
While the idea of Lotus actually selling the tooling and platform for one of their models seems to be new, this is not the first time Lotus actually did it. When production of the original Lotus Seven ceased in 1973, the company sold the platform to Caterham which still makes and sells modern versions of the open-top sports car dubbed as the ‘Caterham 7’.
Could Caterham actually buy the Elise’s platform? Perhaps, but another company, Redford, could also get their hands on the Elise after Lotus lets go of it.
Supposedly, Radford and Lotus had come to a deal to help launch a new retro-inspired sports car. This means Radford could have already found a way to get the Elise’s technologies from Lotus. But with no confirmation yet, the sportscar's future is still up in the air.
With its 25-year history, the Lotus Elise has made quite a name for itself. What it lacked in sheer power, it made up for in handling.
Should Lotus actually sell the platform and tooling of the Elise, who do you think will get the rights to make them? Caterham? Radford? Or an entirely different company?