PEBBLE BEACH, Calif.--The Evora GTE Road Car concept signals the beginning of Lotus Cars' plan to more than double the company's global sales by late 2015.
The British sports car maker intends to launch six models by that time.
And although the company expects to sell just 2,700 cars globally this year, Lotus believes that once its new lineup is in place by late 2015, it will be selling 6,000 to 7,000 cars a year, says Kevin Smith, a Lotus Cars USA spokesman.
"With future products, we'll go decidedly upmarket," he says. "We've got to get the attention of sports car buyers."
Lotus plans to share engines, parts, and chassis structures among the six models. "So really, it will be more like creating two and a half new models in five years, which is a little more manageable," Smith says.
The Evora GTE Road Car, unveiled at this month's Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance, is the beginning.
The concept is a street version of the company's Le Mans racer, the Evora GTE.
Smith acknowledges that demand would be small if Lotus builds it, considering its estimated price tag of about $160,000. The current Evora S model sells for about $90,000.
But Lotus wants to shift its product line toward more expensive, higher performance models as a way to attract sales from bigger, better-known competitors such as Ferrari.
The GTE would come with a supercharged V-6 engine that promises 420 hp. The current Evora's engine generates 276 hp.
"We haven't competed in that rarefied segment since the 1990s," Smith says.
In late 2013, Lotus will launch a new generation of its Esprit, with a 4.8-liter V-8 that will claim 570 hp. It also will come with a hybrid powertrain option, and a price tag of around $180,000.
In spring 2014, Lotus will bring out a new Elite model on the same chassis, then stretch the same chassis to yield the brand's first sedan, the Eterne.
A new four-cylinder Elise will appear in 2015.
(Source: Automotive News)