HETHEL, England -- Lotus will reintroduce the two-seat Elise sports car in the U.S. after the company brings out the next generation of the car in 2020, the company's CEO said.
The U.K.-based company first imported the Elise in 2004 but had to withdraw the car in 2011 after exemptions from certain safety regulations expired. It continues to sell a handful models for use on racetracks.
Lotus recently made safety changes to the bigger Evora to enable the company to start selling that car again in January as a 2017 model, but CEO Jean-Marc Gales told Automotive News that similar changes would be too onerous for the Elise.
"We'd need smart airbags, plus side airbags and to change the whole front crash structure. It would add 100kg (220 pounds)," he said.
Lotus delivered 2,385 Elises to the U.S. in its first 12 months starting July 2004, when it was priced starting at $40,780, including shipping. In the first six months of this year, Lotus sold just 74 cars.