Despite news of layoffs and an uncertain product plan at Lotus, the company will continue selling its Evora sports car in the U.S. — after a brief hiatus for the 2015 model year. The 2016 Lotus Evora will go into production in fall 2015 and will go on sale on our shores shortly thereafter.
“We do have a car coming,” Lotus Cars USA director of operations Arnie Johnson told Automobile.
The current Lotus Evora does not fully comply with federal crash test requirements, and Lotus’s waiver that permitted the company to sell the car here despite that problem expired in March. (Johnson said the Lotus Evora only failed crash testing with a fifth-percentile female dummy sitting with the passenger seat as far forward as possible, an uncommon situation.) On top of that, the Lotus Evora won’t be able to meet the government’s new pole side-impact crash test. As a result, Johnson said Lotus decided to pull the Evora from the U.S. market for one year to reengineer it. When the 2016 Lotus Evora goes on sale, it will meet all U.S. safety regulations without the need for any waivers or exemptions.
Johnson said the 2016 Lotus Evora may have some other changes compared to its current form, and said the car has already been shown to U.S. Lotus dealers. The Lotus Evora was previously offered in the U.S. with either a 276-hp, 3.5-liter V-6 engine, or a supercharged version of said engine good for 345 hp. He also said that although the Evora is being reengineered to meet today’s safety regulations, it’s unlikely the Elise or Exige sports cars will be updated for a return to the U.S. market.
That the Lotus Evora will return to U.S. sale is good news for fans of the stripped-out British sports cars. It comes on the heels of a string of mixed news from Lotus. The company laid off more than 325 employees in the U.K., and new CEO Jean-Marc Gales has been vague as to the company’s future product plans.