View Full Version : New Lotus Elise is coming

04-27-2005, 01:03 AM
Lotus to make Elise more appealing <br>26 April 2005<p>CHRIS STARKIE, EDP BUSINESS EDITOR <p>Car manufacturer Group Lotus is developing up to three new models based on the Elise as it ramps up production at its Hethel headquarters.<p>In his first interview since becoming chief executive of Group Lotus, Kim Ogaard-Nielsen said the company was looking to widen the appeal of its sports cars and attract more female and mature buyers.<p>Lotus is aiming to consolidate its position in the US, establish other overseas markets, develop new versions of the Elise and produce a new supercar.<p>Last year Lotus launched the Elise in the US market, with the model proving an instant success. Around 2500 were sold in the first 12 months, with that figure expected to rise as Lotus expands its dealer network from 40 to 50 by the end of the year.<p>Lotus is also poised to start selling in Canada, which could prove another lucrative market. But sales have been less impressive in continental Europe, where the Elise model has been on sale for a number of years.<p>Lotus is looking at improving its distribution and marketing across Europe and in Germany in particular, Europe's biggest market for sports cars.<p>It is also working on new versions of the Elise to help drive sales in the UK and Europe, the US and further afield.<p>Lotus produced 4500 cars in the 12 months to April 30 this year, and is planning to manufacture around 5500 cars over the next 12 months.<p>That means the Hethel site will be producing 120 cars a week for the entire year. And with around 75 a week expected to be shipped to the US, that level of production may still not be enough to keep up demand.<p>Mr Ogaard-Nielsen said the plans offered great confidence for the manufacturing workforce at Hethel.<p>"We are making more cars here than ever before, and that is good news for the workforce here in Norfolk. In 1995 the company produced the 50,000th Lotus," he said. <p>"By the end of the year we will have produced the 75,000th Lotus, so it has taken us 10 years to make 25,000 cars. The next 25,000 cars will take less than five years."<p>Lotus Sportscars managing director Clive Dopson said the company was planning a number of new models based on the Elise platform following the success of the Exige.<p>"We are aiming to make use of the Elise platform for the next 10 years, but so far we have not exploited its full potential. We developed a more extreme version of the Elise in the Exige, but we believe there could be another three different models at the other end of the spectrum."<p>These could include models aimed at women and more mature drivers, sectors in which Lotus has traditionally fared poorly.<p>Mr Ogaard-Nielsen said: "Most of our cars are bought by Lotus enthusiasts, which is great. They are people who like the Lotus name and history. But there are segments of the market that we believe we can make sales, to women and more mature people for example. These people buy sports cars, but not ours at the moment."<p>SPECIALREPORT - Page Four<p>TRYINGOUTANELISE - see Centro on Page 21 of main paper <br>

04-27-2005, 05:40 AM
Perhaps one of the 3 versions will feature styling that does not equate garish with exciting.