Just a few weeks ago, Lotus loosed a crew of portly, modern, and Chapman-defying models on the world at the Paris auto show. But it turns out only the Esprit is real--at least for the time being.
According to Lotus CEO Dany Bahar, who admits he's "not a car guy," only the new Esprit is actually under development. Why? Just developing the one car is requiring the full force of Lotus' resources. But it's not due for release until 2013.
So what about all those other Lotuses? The Elan, Elise, Eterne, City Car, and Elite? They're nice ideas of possible future directions for Lotus, but at this rate, their 2013-2105 release dates seem rather optimistic. And with the current Elise done for production as of 2011, where does that leave the company for the intervening two years?
But there may yet be reason for optimism, if of a different sort: if Lotus is focusing solely on the new Esprit, which even in its heyday wasn't really one of the "speed through lightness" examples of Lotus crafstmanship, then it isn't mucking about, destroying the rest of the Lotus legacy with a bunch of over-featured, overweight, and overpriced cars.
That, at least, is a relief.