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January 2003 - Lotus Announces Elise for USA

Hethel, England
Group Lotus PLC and its subsidiary Lotus Cars U.S.A. Inc. will expand Lotus' presence in the U.S. market with the introduction of a U.S.A. specific version of the world-acclaimed Elise and a future product strategy that will include a new family of exciting models over the next several years.

U.S. sales of the 2005 Elise are scheduled to begin in mid 2004. The "Federal" Elise will retain the benchmark performance, handling and dynamics that have proven so popular in the U.K. and Europe but at the same time complying with U.S. regulations.

The recipient of numerous industry awards and accolades for design, performance, drivability, and handling, the Elise is constructed around a strong, rigid, yet lightweight extruded and bonded aluminium chassis. Consistent with the Lotus design philosophy of achieving performance and efficiency through light weight, this high tech chassis weighing less than 150 lbs (68kg) allows for a complete vehicle weight of approximately 1700lbs (770kg) (current European specification).

Demand for the product and high quality standards are key
A careful study of the U.S. market and the success of the Elise in Europe and the other markets have shown Lotus that there is a demand for a small, lightweight and very high performance sportscar in the U.S. While remaining a hand-built car, a new state of the art manufacturing facility at its Headquarters in Hethel, England has enabled Lotus to build cars at a higher volume and introduce unprecedented quality standards vital for today's demanding customer.

Arnie Johnson, Lotus Cars USA's President/CEO explains why Lotus recognises the USA as a key market for the Elise and future models. "Our market analysis studies and surveys have overwhelmingly confirmed demand for the car. Based on customer and dealer reaction, we are very confident that the Elise will enjoy the same success here in the U.S.A. as in other markets.

"The introduction of the Elise marks the beginning of a new era of growth for Lotus Cars USA as well as for our dealer network. Over the next few years we anticipate further expansion and growth with new models to follow for the U.S. market."

Lotus Cars USA will implement a plan to provide the highest quality sales and service support throughout the dealer network and add new dealers in key market areas, thereby making the brand more accessible to its expanded customer base.

Complete specifications and price for the U.S.A. Elise will be published closer to the time of launch in mid 2004.

Lotus Esprit to Evolve
The current Lotus Esprit, regarded by many as the classic supercar, will reach the end of its long and illustrious life in early 2004 in the USA and mid 2003 in Europe. The many fans, followers and owners of the Esprit, need not be disappointed however, as the brand and the concept of the Esprit will continue.

Unveiled in 1972 as a styling concept at the Turin Motorshow, the Esprit entered production in the mid 1970's and today is accepted as being one of the world's finest supercars. The latest version, the Esprit V8 uses the Lotus designed 3.5 litre twin turbocharged V8 engine producing 350 hp at 6,500 rpm and 400 Nm (295 at 4,250 rpm.

Production of the Esprit started in 1976, and since then over 10,000 versions have been built at Lotus' headquarters in Hethel England. The build rate of the current Esprit will slowly tail off with about 140 cars being built this year. An all new Esprit will hit the streets around the world in a few years time but no further details about this car will be given at this time.

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