Lotus Europa-based Dodge Circuit canceled?

Dodge Circuit EVAutocar is reporting the Lotus-Europa-based Dodge Circuit electric sports car has been canned.

The report comes after news just last month from CNN Money that indicated the first ENVI vehicle to see production would be the Circuit. Chrysler also signed an agreement with A123 Systems last month to provide batteries for the Circuit.

webuildadWhat’s more, Chyrsler just launched a brand new ad campaign a few days ago featuring the Circuit! Running in newspapers all over the United States, the ads attempt to restore some confidence in Chrysler’s future with the tagline, “We’re building a new car company”. Yet of the three vehicles featured in the ad (2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee, Chrysler 200C Concept, and the Dodge Circuit EV Concept), just one is a production vehicle. What greater way to show confidence in your new company than to cancel one of those three cars!

We are left with a few different conclusions. If the Circuit has indeed been cancelled, it makes a statement on how fast the tumultuous auto industry changes today. These days, predicting the future of automakers is better left to fortune-tellers, and even more so when it comes to companies as cash-strapped as Chrysler.

Or was the Circuit never intended for production at all, despite Chrysler’s public claims to the contrary? Chrysler needed something to woo members of the U.S. Congress in order to loosen the government purse strings, and what better way to do that than with an exciting electric car? Take an existing car Americans won’t recognize (Lotus Europa), replace the engine with some prototype batteries, and slap some Dodge badges on it. Voila, Chrysler has a future.

Perhaps the report is simply a smokescreen that will enable Chrysler to surprise the world once the production Circuit is ready. This doesn’t make much sense though – Chrysler needs all the positive publicity it can get. Some analysts wager Chrysler’s brand credibility has been irreparably ruined in the past couple months.

Nonetheless, insiders say Lotus is in talks with some European manufacturers to setup another electric car cooperation similar to the partnership with Tesla. Collaboration with Abarth on an Elise-based sports car has apparently stalled, however.

Let us know your thoughts below.

Update: Autoblog Green today released video of them driving the Dodge Circuit with the head of the Circuit project, John Meyers.

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  • Bill

    Dodge Circuit - Best looking car I've seen in a long time. If priced right I buy one . It differently has great lines.

  • Jim

    It's people that you that put true car-making to waste. Dodge will never produce a better product than Lotus.

  • whitejeep 1989

    Maybe the Lotus donor car has been canned in favor of the Opel GT? If Fiat is successful in acquiring Opel from GM, Fiat (and by proxy, Chrysler) will have access to the Opel GT/Saturn Sky. Chrysler could save a ton of money on importing and federalizing, if it bases the Dodge Circuit on a lower priced, locally-produced car.

  • Left Lane News posted an article today reporting that GM is "open to bids" to takeover the Opel GT/Saturn Sky/Pontiac Solstice factory and model rights.


    Perhaps Fiat will make a bid for it? Since the collaboration with Lotus through Abarth has stalled, maybe they will purchase this instead.

  • Prospero

    With both the Saturn Sky and Pontiac Solstice being phased out, I wonder if the factory where they are made will still be profitable? Intriguing idea, but I can't imagine that factory will still be able to run on just Opel GTs (whose future is also suspect) and this Dodge electric car, which will still be low-volume.

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