Lotus goes on a drive to win more diehard fans
British sports car brand associated with 007 – and more recently with ‘Red 2’ – is on a mission to expand into China
In this sense, the company’s recent role in developing Tesla electronic cars for the US market is of particular interest. Lotus has been working with Tesla to develop the Tesla Roadster. “If you look at the Tesla you can see there are a lot of similarities between that car and the Elise and that is because it shares some cross-over parts,” says Tompsett. “The cars would be built here at Lotus in Norfolk and shipped to California, and in California the batteries would be connected, so that is when they would become a US product.”
Making electric cars with the Lotus brand is an obvious road to go down, though quiet engines seem about as compatible with sports car brands as baby seats. Lotus, true to its culture, however, is not giving much away.
“What I can tell you is that Lotus Engineering is selling all of that so the technology is owned by Lotus, the technology is there, but it is not in road cars at the moment,” says Tompsett. “We will see what the market wants in terms of future electric Lotuses.”
And indeed, what it wants from Lotus in general.
From Bond to Bruce Willis: How Lotus sports cars stay in the picture
When James Bond hurled himself underwater in a slick white submarine-car, he not only saved the day for himself but possibly for a small English car producer too.
Think 007 cars and you can’t help but think Lotus – they provided the gadget-ridden ridden vehicles for The Spy Who Loved Me (an Esprit S1) and For Your Eyes Only (an Esprit Turbo).
In Pretty Woman, Julia Roberts decided that the Esprit “corners like it’s on rails”.
It would be unfair to suggest that Hollywood’s stardust has been the secret of Lotus’s survival, but it hasn’t hurt. This summer, the Lotus Exige S appears in the London scenes of Red 2 , starring Bruce Willis and Helen Mirren.
With restricted marketing budgets, Lotus has to think where best to capture the public imagination, according to Tracey Tompsett. “We don’t advertise in the traditional sense; we spend our marketing resources on experiential campaigns,”she says.