Lotus are Choosing to Build Bigger Cars – Really!
Lotus fans had bewildered looks on their faces when the company unveiled no less than five concept models at the Paris Motor Show last month. However, these reactions weren’t so much because of the number of new cars they were being bombarded with, but more so because they couldn’t really relate to them. The car-loving public has a certain mindsight when it comes to Lotus models, and that mindset stems from company founder Sir Colin Chapman’s old adage and philosophy of "simplify, then add lightness." Now, all of a sudden Lotus models have gone from skinny supermodels to full-figured glamour girls instantaneously, sending Chapman’s philosophy straight out the window.
The public’s reaction is completely understandable considering that this phrase is famous the world over and largely represents what a Lotus is all about and, more importantly, why people buy them. Now Lotus has completely altered their brand identity and values, and therefore run the risk of alienating their market. So, why the change of heart?
Hit the jump to find out.
The guys at Jalopnik dug a little deeper and were fortunate enough to have a few words with Lotus engineers and company CEO, Danny Bahar. The reasoning for building bulkier cars wasn’t out of necessity, but rather on their own accord. As shocking as that sounds, it’s the truth. Automakers these days are under pressure from regulations that require cars to be ever safer, meaning they need more strength, airbags, fancy restraint systems, and so on. All of that means weight, and as we all know, weight hurts everything we love about cars; handling, performance, fuel economy etc. To put this into perspective, the old Elise weighed just 1900lbs and the new one 2400lbs. 500lbs is a lot to put on in one generation and the sad part is that it isn’t just red tape and regulations that’s causing them to do this - they want to. Bahar apparently gave the Jalopnik boys an earful before scoffing at their idea of comparing the old Elise to the new version head to head, methodically determining where, why, and how all the weight was added.
Sorry Lotus fans, but it seems the legacy of Sir Colin Chapman has taken a back seat to a new wave of thinking from the top brass at the British manufacturer.