Lotus stunned the automotive world at the 2010 Paris Auto Show by unveiling a range of new sport car concepts, all of which at the time were claimed to be headed for immediate production, but quietly the automaker from Hethel also announced its entry into the smart car market with a new minicar called Ethos that would be based on a model currently being developed by Proton, Lotus’ Malaysian parent company. According to inside sources the Lotus Ethos will eventually be sold in the U.S., though likely it will not be until late 2013 or maybe even 2014.
The Ethos is being developed jointly with Proton, an automotive design and production outfit which will be launching it’s own version of the car with the Italdesign Giugiaro styled Emas Concept first shown at the 2010 Geneva Motor Show. The Emas was presented with a plug in hybrid drive train which was originally engineered by Lotus.
Like the Aston Martin Cygnet, itself based on the super mini and forward looking Toyota iQ, the Ethos would be built in Malaysia by Proton before being shipped in stripped down form for finishing by the Lotus crew at Hethel.
The key difference between the Ethos and the Cygnet is that the Cygnet is sold primarily on its merits of high-end luxury, while the Ethos would be marketed for its advanced drivetrain and Lotus engineering.
Pricing is expected to start at roughly $45,000. While it would be cheaper than the outgoing Elise it would still be considerably expensive for a minicar.
Phoenix Valley auto enthusiasts can view and test drive any current production model Lotus at Lotus of Scottsdale. Phoenix Valley auto enthusiasts should plan on attending the Phoenix Arizona International Auto Show to learn about the most recent concepts and innovations from Lotus, as well as the rest of the auto industry, taking place at the Phoenix Arizona Convention center over Thanksgiving