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Last year, some American car companies looked to their government for financial help to keep them afloat and use the money to develop new products. Some of them have actually used the money properly and produced some decent new models.
Over in the U.K., Lotus is looking at the British government to help out in the same capacity. Lotus is saying, that unless the government backs them up, they will have to resort to looking at producing vehicles outside of the United Kingdom.
This will not only affect jobs in its homeland, but would also mean that future products, like the highly anticipated new Esprit (above) will be built in either Austria (Magna) or Finland (Valmet).
Lotus is asking for a chunk (although no official amount is known) from the Regional Growth Fund, a program designed to help local industry and businesses. The decision will be announced by the early part of April. We’ll keep you posted on this developing story.
Lotus unveiled an entirely new product range today, with 5 new cars that mark a complete 180 for the brand. The most significant product for the company will be their Esprit flagship, which will set the tone for future cars as they prepare to do battle with Italy’s best.
With a 5.0L V8 displacing 620 horsepower, the Esprit can hit 205 mph and accelerate to 60 mph in an estimated 3.5 seconds. The Esprit will also offer a KERS system, similar to Formula 1 cars, that captures kinetic energy under braking and allows the driver to hit a button for an electronic overboost.
Hit the jump to read the official press release
Gallery: Lotus Esprit
Details of what exactly the “New Era” for Lotus will entail have begun to slip out with reports that the automaker will show-off four new concept cars at the Paris Auto Show this Fall. According to some reports the vehicles will include a successor to the Esprit, two new front-engined GT cars and a new roadster model. It’s not clear if one of these new models will be the Exige, but Lotus is expected to announce the release of a V6 powered Exige soon. Several spy shots of the car have been taken and considering recent emissions regulations put an end to the 1.8-liter engine (in all its forms) for the European market, Lotus is left only with an underpowered 1.6-liter.
The announcement will come as part of a larger restructuring at Lotus has also announced that it is cutting free its entire European dealer network as it plans to move forward as a serious competitor to Ferrari, Porsche and Aston Martin.