Australian distribution of Lotus has been handed to Sydney’s Simply Sports Cars dealership, with importer Ateco Automotive relinquishing the British brand after five years of flatlining sales.
Simply Sports Cars (SSC) has become the top-selling Lotus dealership in the country since opening its Sydney operations in the north shore suburb of Artarmon in 2003, and its director of sales and strategy Richard Gibbs is primed to get the brand back on the radar of local sports car buyers.
At the local launch of the Lotus Evora 400, Gibbs admitted that, “the market wasn’t thinking about Lotus anymore” but he maintains that with better pricing, increased marketing and a greater number of customer oriented events, Lotus could triple sales in Australia.
“We won’t turn it around overnight,” he told MOTOR. “We won’t go from 51 (2015 annual sales) to 100 cars (but) maybe we go, should we be aiming for 70 cars next year, 50 per cent growth? And then again the year after that.
“We’re working to a three-year horizon. There is a lot of work to be done to make that brand known again in the market. If we could sustain 120 to 150 cars in the market each year, I would be over the moon.”
Typically the entry Elise and mid-range Lotus Exige each nab 40 per cent of sales, leaving the flagship Evora with the remaining 20 per cent.
The manual-only Elise continues from $74,990 (plus orc) with a 100kW/160Nm 1.6-litre petrol four-cylinder engine and 6.5-second 0-100km/h.
It then rises $10K to the new Elise Sport 220 with a 162kW/250Nm 1.8-litre supercharged four-cylinder and 4.6sec 0-100km/h, and tops out with the $104,990 Elise Cup 250 with a 181kW version of the same engine and a 4.3sec 0-100km/h.
The next step up is the new Exige Sport 350 priced from $134,500 for the six-speed manual or $139,990 for the six-speed automatic.
Now the only Exige available and with a 258kW/400Nm 3.5-litre supercharged V6 teaming with an 1125kg kerb weight, its 0-100km/h claims of 3.9sec (manual) and 3.8sec (auto) make the Sport 350 the fastest Lotus available.
SSC expects the new Evora to take an increasing share of Lotus sales in Australia, however, with the 400 priced from $184,990 plus on-road costs and the hardcore, Cayman GT4-rivalling 410 priced from $199,990 plus orc.
Both use a more powerful 298kW or 306kW version of the blown Exige engine, respectively, and claim 0-100km/h in 4.2sec or 4.1sec.
In a statement, Lotus chief executive officer Jean-Marc Gales welcomes SSC to the family: “Lotus has a long history in Australia and New Zealand and our fans and customers in the region understand just what makes a Lotus so special, embracing our ‘light is right’ philosophy.”
“This knowledge and enthusiasm for Lotus is also carried by … Simply Sports Cars who have a well deserved reputation for delivering exceptional customer service and support.”