Lotus CEO, Jean-Marc Gales, has stated that the company won’t be re-launching the Elise sports car in the U.S. market before 2020. The currently sold second generation Elise, called the Series 2, arrived in the country in 2004, three years after it was launched in the UK. However, Lotus were forced to withdraw the sports car in 2011 due to non-compliant airbags.
Three years later, the company suspended its sales in the US as it was unable to fulfil the stringent safety regulations of the country and its temporary exemptions had expired. However, the British sportscar brand is returning to the US market in January 2016 with the Evora 400, which will be equipped with all the mandatory safety features.
Lotus won’t be able to make the necessary changes that are required mandatorily in the U.S., to the current Elise. “We’d need smart airbags, plus side airbags and to change the whole front crash structure. It would add 100kg [220 lbs],” Mr. Gales, told Automotive News. The third generation Elise, which is slated for launch in 2020, will be US-compliant.
During its seven-year stint that started in July 2004, 2,385 Elise cars were sold in the first 12 months despite the vehicle carrying a price-tag of US$ 40,780.
[Source: Automotive News]