Lotus has reached another production landmark since the unveiling of the Elise in 1995. 40,000 examples have now been produced off the Elise’s “small car platform”, which has maintained high standards in low weight and efficiency, while producing a benchmark in handling.

The “small car platform” and its production flexibility is defined by the various models based on it, which have included the Lotus Elise, Exige, Europa, 2-Eleven, 340R and racing variants. The platform underpins the current Elise and Exige models, with the same aluminium extruded and bonded technology used in the new Lotus Evora 400.

In being the first carmaker to use extruded and bonded aluminium, Lotus revolutionised the industry and it has become a method that is being widely adopted amongst the rest of the motor industry. In the meantime, Lotus continues to refine and develop its own lightweight structure currently weighing just 68 kg.

From left to right: Lotus Elise S1, Elise S2, 2-Eleven, Europa and the latest Lotus Evora 400

“The small car platform was a landmark development in 1995 and developed at the right time in the company’s history. Yet, in an environment of continuous improvement, while a correlation exists between today’s platform and the first of the lightweight, bonded and extruded aluminium structures, it has altered radically. It remains a benchmark in light weight and efficiency and is as advanced and market-leading today as it was 20 years ago,” said Jean-Marc Gales, CEO of Group Lotus.

“Looking to the future, the platform will continue to be developed, improved upon and form a solid and dependable base for future new models demonstrating the production flexibility of the technology and its importance to Lotus,” he added.

The 40,000th car to ride on the platform is, appropriately, an Elise 20th Anniversary special edition. The Malaysian-owned brand recently reported a 55% rise in sales in its 2014/15 financial year, the best result achieved since FY 2008/09.