After more than a decade of Elise-based production it’s easy to forget that Lotus was once known as a supercar maker, rather than purveyors of light-weight track-ready sports cars. Whilst many of us hold reservations about Lotus’ New Era strategy, one point that cannot be argued against is that they needed a change of strategy.
You see, despite the tremendous success of the Elise and the various models it spawned, there are limits to how many times a customer is likely to buy the same car (over and over again) and once you’ve reached saturation point in a market (albeit with a very loyal group of customers), you either need to peg down investment and milk your market position, or develop new markets where you can redeploy your skills and capabilities to generate new growth.
Whilst many people consider Lotus to be defined by the Elise, there are still a few of us left who remember when the Esprit was James Bond’s personal choice of transport and therefore the coolest car in the world. From the 1977 film The Spy Who Loved Me through to For Your Eyes Only in 1981 – the Esprit competed for space on the bedroom walls of teenage boys with the iconic 911 and Lamborghini’s irrepressible Countach.
In the 1990s however, the Esprit appealed to a more grown-up audience when it starred alongside Julia Roberts and Richard Gere in the film Pretty Woman and then the erotic thriller Basic Instinct with the unforgettable Sharon Stone.
Nearly 20 years on, Lotus have reunited with Hollywood actress Sharon Stone, this time as she unveiled a new incarnation of the iconic British super car.
Commenting on the new range Sharon Stone said, “I think they’re very, very beautiful cars. When I sat in the Esprit, it reminded me of when we were filming Basic Instinct.…..driving through the hills in San Francisco, it was great. They’re really sexy, powerful, beautifully made cars.”
As Lotus CEO, Dany Bahar put it at the press conference, “Creating aesthetically pleasing cars is one thing, and Donato Coco has raised the bar across the range but even more important than this is what goes on beneath the skin of the car – here is where the real fun begins and where the Lotus legacy of exceptional ride and handling teamed with performance through lightweight steps into a new era. We’ve got the cars, we’ve got the people and we’ve got the backing. Our future starts right here.”
Dany Bahar added, “The American market is crucial to Lotus and as a British car manufacturer we would be crazy not to make the very most of this moment as we reveal our new plans to the US. What people see here today is a snapshot of the not too distant future for Lotus, but what I really want people to remember is that the Elise, Exige and Evora are available right now for people to buy – which other manufacturer can offer so much heritage and yet such a big taste of the future all in one package?”