Lotus confirms new Type 131 sports car for 2021; production of Elise, Exige and Evora also to end

Lotus confirms new Type 131 sports car for 2021; production of Elise, Exige and Evora also to end

Confirming a report by Automotive News Europe last week, Lotus has confirmed that it will be revealing an all-new sports car this year. Codenamed Type 131, the new model will form part of a series of sports cars rolling out of an upgraded plant in Hethel.

Lotus’ new cars will replace the existing Elise, Exige and Evora, which will all cease production this year, ending a 26-year legacy. No details of the Type 131 have been revealed just yet, but Autocar is speculating a V6 hybrid powertrain and a more useable cabin compared to the stripped-out Elise. Company CEO Phil Popham previously said that the new car will be more accessible and have enough interior room for daily use.

The Type 131 will benefit from a revitalisation of the Hethel plant as part of the Vision80 strategy, costing over £100 million (RM554 million). This will also see the relocation of two sub-assembly facilities into a centralised operation in Norwich to facilitate higher volumes, plus the hiring of 250 new employees.

They will join the 670 employees that have joined Lotus since September 2017, when Geely and the DRB-Hicom-affiliated Etika Automotive effectively bought the company from Proton. The new recruits will fill engineering and manufacturing roles for both the automotive division and the Lotus Engineering consultancy, which will open its Advanced Technology Centre in Warwick later this year.

Joining the Type 131 in showrooms later this year will be the Evija, an electric hypercar with an extraordinary claimed power figure of 2,000 PS. Before that however, the Elise, Exige and Evora will be supported by a “full programme of activities” and are expected to sell a grand total of 55,000 units when they finally leave the production line for the last time.

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Jonathan Lee

After trying to pursue a career in product design, Jonathan Lee decided to make the sideways jump into the world of car journalism instead. He therefore appreciates the aesthetic appeal of a car, but for him, the driving experience is still second to none.



  • Jonn Dol on Jan 25, 2021 at 8:46 pm

    This is definitely the most anticipated new Lotus model since Danny Bahar days ( the highly absurd Evija is not).

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0
  • Donno on Jan 26, 2021 at 10:18 am

    Could the Type 131 really confirm to the Lotus ethos of at the root of their DNA which was Colin Chapman’s obsession with light weight. “Simplify, then add lightness”

    a car with a V6 engine isnt really a lightweight sportscar.

    I hope that they would retain the base spec Elise, but with a Proton X50 turbo engine in it. That would make an awesome lightweight sportscar! Keep all of the design as is, but with new 177hp 1.5 TGDi turbo direct injection engine, new wheels, install the new digital instrument pack as standard, and it would be an awesome sportscar that no other manufacturer have in their lineup.

    Remember, retaining an old model in a sportscar lineup (that has already passed homologation) would probably the only way to retain a patrol powered sportscar built in UK in a few years time.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1
    • Donno on Jan 26, 2021 at 10:57 am

      Or if they really dont want the Elise, please dont kill it. Hand it over to Proton.

      Proton already has all the assembly toolings for the Elise/Exige in Shah Alam. Just need to add the chassis bonding lines. Composite body panels would be a walk in the park for malaysian suppliers like CTRM which has built the Lotus Europa panels (which actually was supposed to be a Proton sports car in the beginning)

      A 1.5 TGDi turbo powered Elise at the price of the X50 would be a good sell in malaysia and also ASEAN countries.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0
      • Mahathir tried and failed to port Lotus over to M’sia. Their car building process is mostly hand built using materials that Proton doesn’t use. There is no way for Proton to make Elise cars profitably.

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        • donno on Jan 27, 2021 at 11:01 pm

          the elise is probably one of the most easiest cars to assemble. cheap wages of malaysians actually favours manual assembly of cars rather than automated or robotic. most of the parts can be cheaply produced in malaysia, it was expensive as previously many parts are made in UK. the aluminium extrusion chassis is just bonded together (layman terms, just glued together). all of its toolings probably already paid off decades ago. even with the price of rm110k, the profit margin should be enormous.

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          • Jonn Dol on Jan 29, 2021 at 11:25 am

            Localize the Lotus Elise chassis and even its powertrain , add some creature comforts & modern amenities, with target selling price of sub-RM 100k – and voila, it could sell like hot cakes. And yes, we can export the car too, with the same Lotus badge of course. Nowadays , people only want to buy sportscars with historic/proven badges..

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      • John Doe on Mar 26, 2021 at 11:56 am

        The process of bonding the aluminium panels can only be done by experts out of Malaysia. Theres a reason why other brands never bothered with this process ever since carbonfiber monos were done.

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  • Donno on Jan 26, 2021 at 11:18 am

    So the Proton lineup would be

    Iriz and Persona (RM35-60K).

    X50 and Binrui/Inspira(better name than the preve, waja and all the letter-number pairings) (RM70-100K)

    Proton Elise 1.5 TGDi (RM110K)

    Jiaji/Exora and X70 (RM90-120K)

    KX11/X90 and Xingrui/Perdana (RM130-150K price range)

    As for the naming convention, my opinion is that the letter-number pairing should be used just for SUVs, with sedans and MPVs to continue with proper names.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0
  • Donno on Jan 26, 2021 at 12:03 pm

    Continuing the production of the Elise in malaysia would also be advantageous, as the lotus elise is now finally can be legally exported and sold in USA.

    US NHTSA has just finalised a few days ago the Low Volume Motor Vehicle Manufacturers Act final ruling was released.

    This will enable low volume manufacturers to manufacture or export to USA a low volume car model (based on a model that is at least 25 years old, which the elise is) that does not meet US safety standards (but not emission standards) to be sold with tbe maximum volume of 325 cars.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0
    • Donno on Jan 26, 2021 at 1:34 pm


      So that the lotus elise can be reexported to USA. It was last sold in 2011, for just 3 years prior because of a waiver for it to be sold without the required US crash standards.

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    • Similar to M’sia, USA have a high hurdle to export cars into their country. Which is why most car brands locally produced or assemble cars within that country. If Lotus were to market their cars to the affordable buyers, they need to make it there.

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      • donno on Jan 27, 2021 at 11:11 pm

        google and read about Low Volume Motor Vehicle Manufacturers Act.

        it has just been finalised a few days ago and this will open the doors for manufacturing and importing a maximum of 325 cars annually of a design of more than 25 years to USA without the need to fulfil US safety requirements. Conveniently the elise is 25 years old this year.

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  • Temujin destroyed Baghdad anniversary on Jan 26, 2021 at 4:42 pm

    Fiat 131 Supermirafiori

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