Lotus is in a state of unrest at the moment, thanks to years of stagnation and uncertainty. While it’s refreshing to see the British automaker showing some signs of life, in all honesty it is far from out of the woods. While Lotus has been through a lot in the past, it is flirting with disaster now more than ever before. Because of its precarious position in the market, the company needs a home run or a rainmaker, if you will — a fact that has not escaped Jean-Marc Gales, the new CEO.
Saving a company can mean making some unpopular decisions that seem to betray the customer base. The honest truth is that while the customer base for Lotus has kept it alive to this point, it also has been so small and unprofitable that the car maker has found itself only two steps from joining Saab in a slow and painful death due to irrelevance.
According to Auto Express, the plan Gales is cooking up calls for dropping all plans to bring the Esprit back in a glorious new form. As disappointing as such a move is, a resurrected Esprit likely would not save the company at this point. And as much as enthusiasts might bemoan this fact, Porsche and others have shown that producing a crossover can produce enough financial strength that a company like Lotus can live to fight another day, which is exactly the strategy Gales divulged.
Before you start pointing out that Lotus has been founded on the principles of simplicity and lightness, know that Gales has a keen understanding of that. During the interview with Auto Express, he voiced his belief that the current financial mess has been brought on by the organization falling away from those values. He also stated that if a crossover does indeed wear the Lotus badge, it wouldn’t be until at least 2017 and it certainly wouldn’t be a “two-ton animal.”
What does that mean? One’s imagination could really go somewhere with such a statement.