There’s no doubt who was the star of the Paris Auto Show. Lotus introduced five new models that showed a totally different direction for the brand. Prior to the show, Lotus Chief Executive Officer Danny Bahar hinted at a grand new plan for the automaker and to most that signaled the reintroduction of the Esprit supercar.
That did come, but so did a whole host of other models. Clearly Lotus pursuing a far different plan then it did with the Elise over the past decade.
Bob Lutz, who is serving in an advisory capacity to the Lotus board, recently pegged the company’s chances of success with its ambitious new lineup at 60 percent. The chances of continuing under the former strategy were even less he said. Now, CEO Danny Behar is speculating about the possibility of the brand developing its own engines.
The Elise is powered by Toyota engines, and the partnership with Toyota was expected to continue with the company’s new models. This time around however, the engines would be sourced from Lexus. The Esprit was expected to be powered by the LF-A’s V-10 engine with other models in the pipeline possibly getting power from the IS-F’s V-8.
Talking to Autocar, Bahar says it is important to have a Lotus-developed powerplant: “We have done three engines for other manufacturers; why not do it ourselves?” he said. “The engine is the heart of a sports car; we should do our own product.”
The question to do it or not comes down to cost. He says the final decision to develop the engines will be made in January and that the reasoning will be “purely financial.” There are benefits to be had from Lotus producing its own engines though, with future cost savings from parts commonality and economies of scale spread across the lineup.
Also in the report is news from Lotus engineering chief Wolf Zimmerman that there will be a lot of parts sharing between the three mid-size Lotuses. The cars will share a platform and key components like brakes, suspension and electrical systems.
If the numbers work out, we’re looking forward to seeing what Lotus comes up with in developing its own powertrains. The previous Esprit, which went out of production in 2004, was powered by a Lotus-built V-8.