Powered by
Subscribe to the only car newsletter you’ll ever need

Lotus Elise 2021: lightweight coupe could live on at another company


Long-regarded as one of the best lightweight performance cars around, the Lotus Elise could be spared the axe if the company can find the right buyer.

Lotus has stated its interest in selling the rights and tooling to the 2021 Elise which is set to be axed from its lineup this year as it undergoes a radical transformation to electric power. 

The company previously sold off the tooling of the Lotus Seven to Caterham in 1973, and managing director Matt Windle said he was open to the idea of doing the same for the Elise.

Lotus Elise 2021 front
Lotus has stated it is open to the idea of selling the tooling of the Elise

“If the right project and the right partner came along, I do not see why not. It’s a wonderful car,” he told Automotive News Europe.

Mr Windle would not specify if there were talks to sell the tooling to Caterham, noting that the company in question was currently in an important discussion over its future.

The Elise has been around for 25 years, spanning three generations and multiple updates in which time the lightweight two-seater has earned a reputation skilled driver’s car that still provides raw mechanical feeling.

Lotus Elise 2021 interior
The Elise has been in production for over 25 years across three generations

Recently revived British coachbuilder Radford has also been floated as a potential buyer, which announced last week it had entered a partnership with Lotus.

The company, which was partly founded by former Formula One driver Jenson Button, said it would be taking inspiration from the 1969 Lotus Type 62 race car in designing their new vehicle but has been otherwise limited in giving official details.

Lotus Elise 2021 rear
The Elise entered its final year of production in 2021

Mr Windle said Lotus had considered continuing production of the Elise but their factory in Hethel, England, just didn’t have the space to continue production.

“The truth is that the whole of the manufacturing facility is being transformed into an automated process. We just did not have the room to produce the Elise.”

Lotus announced at the beginning of this year that the Elise, Evora and Exige had entered their last year of production as it prepares for a lineup of five new vehicles.