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DATE News (chronologically)
10/03/10
automotive
irl
f1
Lotus shocks Paris Auto Show
It's been a while since something took an entire auto show by surprise. Usually we've seen the pictures and read the press releases a few days ahead of time, so there's nothing new revealed we weren't already expecting. Until today. Everyone was expecting Lotus to reveal a pair of new Evora models, a new front-engined GT called the Elite, and if we were lucky, maybe the new Esprit. What we got was something much, much better.


Lotus Espirt Concept

As we arrived at the Lotus booth here at the Paris Motor Show, we spotted a total of five cars under cover. Perhaps a concept and some new versions of existing cars? What proceeded to happen was something entirely unexpected. Lotus CEO Dany Bahar addressed the crowd, announcing that Lotus would be entering a new era. In a matter of minutes, the wraps were pulled off the Esprit, Elan, Elite, Elise and Eterne concept cars, each time with a gasp from the crowd as the next concept's name was announced. This wasn't just the introduction of a few concept cars. We were witnessing the complete and utter revitalization, rebranding and rebirth of a legendary car company.


Lotus Elize (T) and Elan (B) Concepts

With this new lineup of cars, it's easy to see that Lotus wants to play with the big boys – Ferrari, Lamborghini, Maserati and Aston Martin. Bahar had announced last year that this was the direction the company would take, but we didn't expect it to happen so soon or all at once.


Lotus Elite (T) and Eterne (B) Concepts

Lotus has long been the master of lightweight, nimble sports cars, and many will undoubtedly say that the company should stick to the same cars it's been building for the last decade. After all, what would Colin Chapman say about a Lotus coupe that weighs over 3,600 pounds? And a grown up Elise? Then there's the styling. As usual, we're split down the middle here at Autoblog. Half of us love the styling, while the other 50 percent thinks it looks too generic. In the end, only time will tell whether Lotus fans will like the direction the company is headed, but we think the general public will for certain.

And now you know why Lotus wants to make a big push in IndyCar, F1, and many other series next year.  They intend to start selling a lot more cars in America, and they want to use racing to help do that.

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