There has been a lot of discussion about the new Eletre from Lotus. Some good, some bad. Our Editor and resident Lotus fan/owner has weighed in on the debate
I can hear the muffled cries of Lotus purists the world over. “How can they launch something so heavy?” “An SUV can never be a real Lotus.” “Colin Chapman will be turning in his grave” and so on. But those who are upset probably aren’t the target market for this vehicle but more importantly this is just the sort of car that Lotus needs to take it from low-volume and no profits to a genuine worldwide brand.
For context, I am a Lotus purist. I currently own a featherweight Elise and have owned several other Lotus’ over the years. I’ve driven at least 50 different models from the company’s back catalog and consider myself somewhat of an anorak on the subject of sports cars from Hethel. Do I hate the idea of the Eletre? Not one bit.
The reason is very simple. These cars sell well. They make profit. Profit leads to expansion and, if you use Porsche as a benchmark, far more exciting sports cars than ever before. There will never be another Elise. It was lighting in a bottle and it sold fairly well but a car like that would never meet modern legislation. But the good news is, they made quite a few and none were bad. If you need an Elise in your life, buy a used one.
The future of Lotus is in electrification. The Emira will be their last sports car to burn fossil fuels and the next generation of sports cars will all be battery powered. But to help promote that future you need a volume seller. This is something Lotus have never had. The path has already been forged by Porsche, Lamborghini, Bentley, Rolls Royce, Aston Martin and soon, Ferrari. The Eletre stands apart from that crowd due to its propulsion and relative value but it also stands shoulder to shoulder with them. The market for fast, flashy SUVs is huge and if Lotus can tap into that then they’d be foolish not to.
It is no secret that Colin Chapman, god of lightness, loved his Range Rover. He reportedly had plans to build a saloon and something akin to an SUV, so who knows what we would have seen from Lotus had he not passed away when he did. But most of all he was a businessman. I’m sure he’d view this latest venture as less of a dilution of the brand and more of a new chapter in the Norfolk car maker’s history.
So to the purists out there, don’t dismay. The Eletre is a positive sign that there is a promising bright future for Lotus. It will open up Lotus to far more markets than ever before. Their first truly global production car. Even if this car is not for you, let the wizards from Weissach show you that a Lotus for the family means the Lotus for the weekend will only get better.
An SUV from Lotus? Say hello to the Eletre!