Lotus, the Norfolk-based sports car manufacturer that was established 75 years ago by Colin Chapman, is known for a lot of things but massive production numbers aren’t one of them. Until now, that is.
In the first half of the year, the Geely-owned marque saw its order book grow to approximately 17,000 vehicles worldwide, the company said, breaking all previous sales records and surpassing with great ease the measly 576 units it sold in all of last year.
The biggest contributor to this massive improvement is the all-electric Eletre SUV, which debuted in the spring of 2022 and got in the hands of Chinese customers at the end of March this year, with UK and European deliveries set to begin later this summer.
Gallery: 2024 Lotus Eletre First Drive
Built at Geely’s factory in Wuhan, China, the Eletre is powered by a 112-kilowatt-hour battery pack that sends juice to a pair of electric motors which are capable of making 603 horsepower and 524 pound-feet of torque in the base variant and 905 hp and 726 lb-ft in the R trim, enabling a 0 to 60 miles per hour sprint in as little as 2.9 seconds. It also costs about $120,000, so it’s up there with heavy-weight names like the Tesla Model X and the recently revealed Cadillac Escalade IQ.
The Emira mid-engined sports car also made a big splash, being produced in over 2,200 units in the United Kingdom in the first six months of the year, which is a 381 percent increase compared to the fiscal year 2022, Lotus says.
Gallery: 2024 Lotus Emira First Drive
Historically, the brand known for its lightweight sports cars like the Elise and Exige rarely had years when it managed to ship more than 1,500 cars. Back in 2020, it sold 1,378 vehicles and in 2021 it saw an increase of 24 percent (1,710 units), making it the best year in a decade in terms of sales. Now, that record is a thing of the past, as the Emira alone sold roughly the same number of units in the first half of the year as the whole output for 2022 and 2021 combined.
As for the 5,556-pound zero-emissions SUV, it might not be the vehicle of choice for purists, but the fact of the matter is that SUVs sell, and that helps Lotus stay alive and continue to develop engaging, low-to-the-ground sports cars like the Emira. It’s the same story as Porsche, which introduced the Cayenne in 2002 and made enough money from selling it to continue churning out the 911.