Lotus has confirmed that production of its iconic Elise, Exige and Evora sports cars has come to an end.
The Norfolk-based firm says it will dismantle the production lines that these models were built on ahead of the introduction of the new Emira.
Over the course of the past 26 years, Lotus says it has built 51,738 vehicles on these lines, as well as nearly 10,000 vehicles for third-party clients such as GM and Tesla.
The current assembly lines were installed in 2000 and will be replaced with state-of-the-art facilities for the new Emira sports car, which will be the first of Lotus’s next-generation vehicles.
This will be followed by the Evija hypercar, which will be the firm’s first EV.
This new high-tech, semi-automated production line will increase capacity to around 5,000 cars per year with a single shift pattern.
Matt Windle, managing director at Lotus Cars, said: “First of all, I would like to thank the Lotus team who have worked on the Elise, Exige and Evora over the years and who are now transferring to Emira and Evija manufacturing.
“I would also like to convey enormous gratitude to all the customers of the Elise, Exige and Evora over the last 26 years for their passion, enthusiasm and support. These customers have given our ‘three Es’ true cult status – usually reserved for long-out-of-production classics.
“As we say farewell to the last few cars, we look forward to the Emira and Evija in the all-new factories at Hethel and sub-assembly facilities in Norwich, which introduce greater efficiencies and automation, higher quality and flexibility and the hugely exciting next chapter in our Vision80 strategy.”
The Elise and Exige were first built in a small assembly hall at the Hethel plant between 1996 and 2000, before being moved to this main facility. They are built on the same ‘small car’ platform, which was also used for the Vauxhall VX220 and Tesla Roadster as well as various other lower volume Lotus models.
The final version of each of the Elise, Exige and Evora will be retained by Lotus and placed in its heritage collection.