Bad news, car fans. It may be time to pour one out for the Lotus Evora, and possibly the entire Lotus brand, in the U.S.
The Lotus Evora will soon be dropped from the U.S. market, Car and Driver reports, leaving dealers to sell nothing except track-only versions of the Elise and Exige.
This unfortunately isn’t too much of a surprise. The Evora was already living on borrowed time.
The 2014 Evora was sold under a 12-month exemption to a rule requiring smart airbags. It’s expired, and Lotus reportedly has no plans to refit the car with this added safety equipment.
A similar regulatory issue killed the street-legal versions of the Elise and Exige back in 2011. Given Lotus’ low sales volumes, the cost of re-engineering a car for a single market just doesn’t add up.
So if you want a new Lotus, but don’t want to drive it while wearing a helmet, you’ll have to pick from leftover 2014 models.
When it first arrived in the U.S. in 2010, the Evora was seen as an opportunity for Lotus to avoid the situation it’s currently in by growing its customer base.
Bigger than the existing Elise and Exige, the Evora was supposed to be an easier car to live with, balancing sportiness with civility.
However, the Evora didn’t turn out to be the sales success many were hoping for, and Lotus has been in a holding pattern ever since an ambitious plan to reinvent the brand with up to five new models collapsed.
There are only vague plans for new models at the moment, we may not see a replacement for the Evora for quite awhile.
Hopefully U.S. Lotus dealers will be able to get by selling track-only cars like the Elise S Cup R for the time being.