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I can actually envisage the next Esprit being an electric vehicle.

I don't expect that it would be difficult for Lotus to do.


All we know is that when they stop making this, we will be properly, properly sad.Jeremy Clarkson on the Esprit.

Opinions are like armpits. Everyone has them, some just stink more than others.

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https://www.autonews.com/china/lotus-mulls-second-uk-plant-could-build-suv-china

 
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Lotus mulls second U.K. plant, could build SUV in China

LONDON -- Lotus is preparing for an expansion under Chinese owner Geely Automobile Holdings that could see the British automaker open a second U.K. factory and target new markets by building higher-volume models in China.

Lotus plans to triple output at its base in Hethel, eastern England, to slightly more than 5,000 cars a year and could reach 10,000 if it adopts a double-shift work pattern, the CEO said in an interview. Further increases might require a new plant elsewhere in the country, he said.

Popham described Lotus as a "70-year-old startup" after the launch of its first new car in 10 years. The 1.7 million-pound ($2.1 million) all-electric Evija will be followed by a solely combustion-engine model to be revealed in 2020, after which all subsequent cars will have electric variants, possibly skipping a hybrid option which the CEO said can add too much weight for a sports design.

Lotus's 10-year growth plan includes an expansion into new segments, Popham said after unveiling the Evija at an event in London where it displayed past models including the 1960s-vintage Elan and the wedge-shaped Esprit.

That could include anything from an SUV through a crossover model to a sedan. The company made 1,632 cars in 2018 and expects to top 1,700 this year.

 

Geely Chief Technical Officer Feng Qingfeng, also CEO of Group Lotus following a takeover by the Zhejiang-based automaker in 2017, told journalists that while Lotus's core sports lineup would continue to be built in the UK, higher-volume models could be made in China.

"The manufacturing location depends on the local advantage," he said. "The UK is good at making hand-made cars, so sports and hypercars. In China we may have more advantage in infrastructure for mass-production cars."

 

Popham said there is scope for Lotus to work with other Geely companies, which include Sweden's Volvo Cars and Proton of Malaysia, the U.K. brand's former owner, though there is no question of re-badging other platforms with the name, and neither would the same model be made in multiple locations.

Speaking to Bloomberg, the CEO said Lotus has secured the first few orders for the Evija in recent weeks and expects to sell the "halo" model, which will have a production run of just 130 cars, to buyers from around the world.

Despite the Evija's hypercar credentials, which will see it vie with the Pininfarina Battista and Rimac Automobili's Concept One, as well as top-end conventional models from automakers such as Ferrari and Lamborghini, Popham said future cars will remain within Lotus's established 50,000 pounds to 150,000 pounds ($62,000 to $187,000) price bracket, though there is some scope for moving upscale.

Feng ruled out an early return to Formula One, where Lotus was once a dominant force, while saying he expects the company to do more in motor sport generally.

Lotus has no major concerns about Brexit, Popham said. A U.K. split from the European Union on Oct. 31 now seems likely given commitments from the candidates to succeed Theresa May as prime minister, he said.

The company has stockpiled parts in case of a no-deal exit, but the CEO said any impact would be limited and predicted that new trade accords would be rapidly concluded.

"We are a nation that's historically one of the biggest traders in the global market, always have been, always will be, so it's matter of time before a new deal is done with Europe and other trading partners around the world," he said.

 

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The next five years are going to be busy. With 2 launches next year( Evija  and new sport car Exige?), and then by my count 1 launch in 2021 (Elise)  and at least 1(SUV) if not 2 (Evora replacement or Esprit successor) in 2022.

By that point Lotus will have at two factories (Hethel and Wuhan) and the workforce will be back to level unseen since the early DB, I actually think that we are already almost there in terms of staffing andI have no data yet on how many people are working under Quinfeng  at the new Shanghai hub But my guess would be no less than a hundred.

Oh and because it would technically make sense to urecoup some of  the R&D cost  from the new CF tub, they could do a limited run Evija roadster, once the order book of the Evija is closed.

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1 hour ago, Neda Say said:

Oh and because it would technically make sense to urecoup some of  the R&D cost  from the new CF tub,

I suspect that all future Lotuses will use the same cf tub, or a variation of it. 

A la McLaren. 

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I actually doubt that, for the sake of cost and repairability, carbon fibe is still a bit of a nightmare to mass produce... On an Elise or an Exige it makes very little sense especially when the Elige aluminium chassis is on par with a 4C chassis in terms of weight and rigidity but is significantly cheaper to put together.

I do think that the next gen chassis will include CF  but will remain alloy based, however I think it will have a lot more cast alloy parts compared to the VVA architecture and will integrate the Volvo SPA carbon core to provide an even more rigid frame.

As for Carbon fiber chassis I do think we'll see it on other cars. I actually would not discount Lotus pulling a Valhalla on this one ; using pretty much an Evija core chassis but fitting a conventional engine in it and a slighly different dress... and name it... I don't know Esprit ... Maybe.

 

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I thought that Lotus had already come out and stated that they will be building the next affordable sports car on the Evora chassis, or a derivative of it...

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I would think Lotus would be having the Evija tubs made by hand by one of the several carbon-fibre fabricators in Italy.

Mclaren recently brought CF tub manufacture in house but it cost them a fortune. 

On the other hand Lotus has no in-house chassis capability AFAIK, maybe with Geelys deep pockets they might be able to bring alloy or even CF in house.

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Yes it’s odd how carbon fibre tubs still seem to be regarded as a black art. I visited one of those several fabricators in Italy about 20 years ago and they had a Ferrari F50 tub on show gathering dust in Reception. It had been there since they made it in about 1995, so nigh on 25 years ago! For comparison, 25 years prior to that you could still buy a new Morris Minor! That’s progress!

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For mass production you would imagine that at some point 3d printing with continuous carbon fibre will become a viable solution, until then I can't see someone like Lotus using a CF tub across their entire range unless base models are going to start at 3 or 4 times the current entry price.

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When the Alfa 4C came out everyone was asking how they did the CF tub car for that price. The answer of course was that they didnt. The 4C cost a lot more to produce than the selling price.

The 4C would be a nightmare for any repair so much of the panelling is permanently bonded to the tub.

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Lotus may inject a lot more carbon fiber into its sport cars to make them lighter and stiffer and lower the centre of gravity (windshield frames/ A pilars , roof...) but even if they don't the cars are top notch on these two points already. 

The good news is that Lotus overlord has racked in $49billion in revenues last year, they won't have an issue supporting Lotus for a little while, especially with Volvo now being totally self-sustainable,  and $10b share in Daimler-Benz, Geely can focus on bringing Lynk & Co to Europe and North America, all the while Geometry will push EV versions of Geely cars in China, and in the Asean  bringing Proton back from the brink. Geely can do it all very cost effectively. With Lotus as its crown jewel, avant garde division, two  European luxury brands (Volvo and Polestar) 3 Chinese premium mass market brands (Geely, Lynk&Co, Geometry) and Proton positioned as entry level, plus the acquisition of Smart... Geely has built himself up à la VW Group, they are not quite there in size, but they are as big as FCA right now and a lot more cohesive in their market approach. Lotus is in good hands i'd say.  

 

http://autonews.gasgoo.com/china_news/70016185.html

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I think we are a little way off to see carbon tubs in the entry level cars.  The construction of carbon fibre components still requires many man hours and is costly and takes a lot of time.  So I don't see this being economically viable for the entry or mid level cars.  But higher end stuff that sells in lower volumes but higher margins yes I can see it being used.

I think what we may see in the low to mid entry cars of the future is different manufacturing techniques to get better weight to strength ratio out the chassis reducing weight further or add in more creature comforts that the mass market wants while keeping the weight similar to todays cars.  We know there is investment money available for new factories and construction machines etc ... so this may open the doors for new construction methods that previously Lotus had discounted due to the investment required for new tooling etc ...  Also there will be economies of scale in play if Lotus can start to sell more cars so some of these expensive techniques become cheeper or the R&D cost can be spread over more units to bring down the RRP.

Its a bit of a chicken and egg situation,  the new techniques to make your cars better requires lots of investment but you can't generate that revenue because your cars need to be better for the mass market.  But that cycle has been broken by Geely and their deep pockets.

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An interesting article; about 911 though.

Quote

I used to subscribe to the belief that so long as the success of the Cayenne and its ilk funded the development of great 911s and enabled Porsche to race at Le Mans, it was all good. That theory is still sound, but now that those outliers have become Porsche’s enormously lucrative bread and butter, the customer profile has morphed to such a degree that the 911 now has to look, feel, behave and be equipped in a way that feels familiar to customers who might have owned Cayennes, but have never owned a 911. Much as it pains me to say so, the 911s that I have known and loved are now some kind of genetic throwback; the notion of such a quirky, challenging, individual and unapologetically straightforward sports car sitting as comfortably in Porsche’s 2019 model range as a square peg in a round hole.

https://www.evo.co.uk/opinion/22926/it-pains-me-to-say-so-but-porsche-911s-that-i-have-known-and-loved-are-now-some-kind

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