Lotus finds niche with growth of sports cars

Lotus finds niche with growth of sports cars

Lotus, the British handmade sports car brand, will step up its sales and marketing efforts with a new road car model next year to raise its presence in Korea, one of the world’s most dynamic markets for sports cars.

“The company plans to debut the Evora 400, which offers not only supercar-level speed but also convenient options for a daily car, in January or February next year in Korea,” Lee Hyuk, president of Lotus Korea, told The Korea Herald.

The Evora 400, the facelift version of Lotus’ fastest on-road model, boasts 400 horsepower and a weight of just 1,415 kilograms. It takes only 4.2 seconds to go from 0 to 100 kph. The car will have a price tag of 1.59 trillion won ($1.36 billion), including taxes, in Korea.

The launch of Evora 400 is Lotus Korea’s second big step to raise the presence of the Lotus brand in Korea, following the debut of the Exige S with an automatic gearbox in November this year. The Exige, one of three models that Lotus has built, along with the Evora and Elise, had a manual gearbox until 2011.

“Lotus, which has stressed simplicity and light weight for a pure driving experience, was a hard-core brand for Koreans who were familiar with cars with automated and convenient options,” Lee said.

“Facelifted models like the Evora 400 are more driver-friendly and so can compete with other sports car brands on the road as a daily car beyond the racing track.”

The British brand has brought changes in product development to enhance its customer base since it appointed Jean-Marc Gales, the former CEO of Peugeot, as its new chief in 2014. The new CEO has pushed several projects, including the development of the 1st SUV model and vehicle design upgrade, to restore the glory of Lotus as a supercar brand.

“The new management of Lotus has a high interest in Korea where demand for motor sports is gradually rising,” Lee said. Industry watchers expect premium sports car brands like Porsche and Ferrari to post record high sales this year. Sales of Porsche, for instance, is forecast to reach up to 4,000 units this year.

“Based on the growing demand for sports cars, Lotus Korea has set an annual sales target at 100 units in the mid-term,” Lee said.

“I believe it is an achievable goal, considering Korea’s economic size and dynamism of the car market.”

Beyond Europe, the biggest market for Lotus cars is Japan, with sales of 300 of the 2,000 Lotus cars manufactured in Hethel, Norfolk, England, each year.

Besides the new product launch, Lotus Korea will strengthen its dealership and service network to increase sales. The company will also host track day events for prospective customers to give them the unique Lotus experience.


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