Lotus will stop sales of its current Esprit in mid 2003 in Europe and early 2004 in the USA but says “the brand and the concept will continue”.

Unveiled in 1972 as a styling concept at the Turin motor show, the Esprit was first produced in 1976 and over 10,000 have been built in Hethel, England.

The build rate of the current Esprit will slowly tail off with about 140 cars being assembled this year.

An all-new Esprit will be unveiled in a few years but no further details have been released.