LOTUS REVS UP U.S. MARKET PRESENCE (AND SPORTS CAR ENTHUSIASTS' HEARTS) WITH DEBUT OF 2005 ELISE
Hotly anticipated roadster makes U.S. debut with sizzling volume of advance orders.
LAWRENCEVILLE, GA (December 30, 2003) - Legendary British sports car maker Lotus today served notice that its plans for significant U.S. market growth are ready for launch. The first product in the company's portfolio of sports cars to reenergize the brand on American shores is the 2005 Lotus Elise, an award-winning two-seat convertible that goes on sale this May. Anticipation for the car is already high, with dealers reporting strong interest and a high volume of advance orders. The 2005 Lotus Elise is the first all-new Lotus for the American market since the Elan debuted in 1990. The long-running Lotus Esprit debuted a V8 engine in 1996, and fewer than 100 Esprits are available for sale in the U.S. during 2004.
"American Lotus enthusiasts have been starved for their favorite marque for too long and we're delighted to be in a position to change that with our most successful new car ever," said Tony Shute, head of product planning, Lotus Cars. "We think that both long-time loyal Lotus fans and first-time buyers will find that the US specification Elise was definitely worth the wait." Shute also said that U.S. customer response will be a critical barometer for evaluating future Lotus product plans.
The Lotus Elise has already collected more than 50 engineering and performance awards and countless accolades from automotive press around the world. Since going on sale in Europe in August, 1996, the Elise has exceeded sales expectations by over 300%, and with more than 17,000 units sold to-date is the best selling Lotus in the company's 52-year history.
"The Elise is confirmation that Colin Chapman's vision of building innovative, lightweight, top-performing cars that make drivers smile is very much alive," said Arnie Johnson, President and CEO of Lotus Cars USA. "With its amazing performance, competitive price and superb fun-to-drive factor, we think the 2005 Elise has the potential to convert an entire new generation of driving enthusiasts into Lotus fans." Johnson pointed out that Lotus has an enthusiastic national dealer and service network is in place, with 38 dealers in 29 of the major US markets from Los Angeles to New York and Chicago to Miami. Most Lotus dealers specialize in low-volume, high-performance cars and the personalized service of sports car customers. Johnson anticipates a minimal number of dealer additions, dictated by the anticipated unit sales growth. "We couldn't be in a better position to exceed all previous U.S. sales records," he said. As part of its expansion plans, Lotus Cars USA will be moving to larger facilities near its current headquarters in Lawrenceville, Georgia, later this year.
Extending the Reach of the Lotus Brand in the U.S. Market
The Elise is designed to allow Lotus to penetrate new customer segments. The car's phenomena[ agility, sure-footed road manners and precision handling, competitive price point, smooth-shifting six-speed transmission and sub-five-second 0-60 performance numbers make it a highly attractive option for automotive enthusiasts who want a true sports car without sacrificing drivability. Because the Elise has none of the quirks and rough edges of other highperformance sports cars, Lotus also forecasts that the car will appeal to women-a first for the Lotus brand. Whether motoring cross-country or cross-town, drivers will feel equally at home behind the wheel.
Performance purists and weekend racers will especially appreciate the Elise's ability to outperform any other sports car in its class-as well as most other classes. The Elise is a return to roots for Lotus and offers more smiles and thrills per sports car dollar spent than any other model in its segment. The 190hp Elise out-accelerates cars costing twice as much and is one of only a handful of cars that has more than 100 horsepower per liter, an elusive watershed mark in engine performance. Yet, thanks to the Elise's light weight, the car is stingy at the gas pump, achieving over 30 miles per gallon.
Drivers who demand innovative design and world-first technical advances will also find the Elise appealing. It is the first production car in the world to have a bonded and extruded aluminum chassis. Developed using technology borrowed from the aerospace industry, aluminum extrusions are bonded together to produce an extremely lightweight (1 50-pounds) and exceptionally rigid chassis that is the backbone of the Elise's incredible performance. Composite body panels add little weight and are a major factor in the car's aerodynamic stability.
About Lotus Cars USA
Lotus is one of the world's best-known British performance brands with a reputation for innovation and success through a steady stream of winning racing cars and memorable sports cars. The first Lotus car was built in 1948 by founder Colin Chapman (1928-1982) and the Lotus Engineering Company has pioneered automotive systems and components still in use today.
Today, Lotus Cars and its sister company Lotus Engineering are owned by Group Lotus, PLC, headquartered in Norfolk, England. The location is home to design, manufacturing, research and development and sales facilities. While Lotus Cars continues to design and build sports cars revered for their performance, style and innovation, Lotus Engineering develops advanced automotive systems and components for many of the world's leading automakers. Together, these two enterprises are a powerful team, committed to changing the rules that define automotive excellence. Group Lotus U.S. subsidiaries include Lotus Cars USA