End Of The Line – Lotus’s Sporting Trio Era Draws To A Close

Sporting Trio - Lotus
Production ends for Lotus Elise, Exige and Evora

Today marked the end of a historic 26 year run for Lotus’s sporting trio of the Elise, Exige, and Evora as the troubled automaker looks to the future…

Wednesday 22 December 2021 waved farewell to a historic era for Lotus’s Elise, Exige, and Evora following a total of 51,738 cars rolling off the production line. Combined, they represent almost half of the total production of Lotus in its 73-year history. In addition, 9,715 sports cars were built for Lotus’ third-party clients, including GM and Tesla.

It was back in 1996 – 2000 when the first-generation Elise and Exige sports cars were built in a small assembly hall at Hethel alongside the Lotus Esprit. The current assembly lines, which were installed in 2000, will be dismantled and replaced with all-new state-of-the-art facilities in support of the all-new Emira factory.

Sporting Trio - Lotus

Full Emira production begins in the spring after the prototype and test phases currently underway are completed, taking Lotus sports car production into an exciting, high-tech, and semi-automated era, and increasing capacity up to 5,000 units per year on a single shift pattern.

Lotus Emira

The last examples of the Elise, Exige, and Evora models are reserved for Lotus’ growing heritage collection.

Joining the collection will be the last Elise, a Sport 240 Final Edition finished in Yellow and the last of 35,124 cars; the last Exige, a Cup 430 Final Edition in Heritage Racing Green – number 10,497; and the last Evora – a GT430 Sport finished in Dark Metallic Grey – the last of a production run of 6,117.

Sporting Trio - Lotus

The Elise and Exige sports cars are built around the Lotus ‘small car platform’. On the same platform, and also manufactured by Lotus at Hethel were the Opel Speedster / Vauxhall VX220 (7,200 cars built between 2000 and 2005) and the Tesla Roadster (2,515 cars built between 2007 and 2012). Therefore, including the Lotus 340R, Europa, 2-Eleven, and 3-Eleven cars, this brings the total Lotus small car platform production volumes to 56,618 cars.

Sporting Trio - Lotus

Matt Windle, Managing Director, Lotus Cars, said:
“First of all, I would like to thank the Lotus team who have worked on the Elise, Exige, and Evora over the years and who are now transferring to Emira and Evija manufacturing. I would also like to convey enormous gratitude to all the customers of the Elise, Exige, and Evora over the last 26 years for their passion, enthusiasm, and support. These customers have given our ‘three Es’ true cult status – usually reserved for long-out-of-production classics. As we say farewell to the last few cars, we look forward to the Emira and Evija in the all-new factories at Hethel and sub-assembly facilities in Norwich, which introduce greater efficiencies and automation, higher quality, and flexibility and the hugely exciting next chapter in our Vision80 strategy.”

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