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Lotus lobs in New Zealand

Ready to go: Lotus will launch in New Zealand with three models, including the Elise, Exige S (left) and Evora.

Crichton retail empire expands further as Lotus sets up via EAI in New Zealand

7 Oct 2013

BRITISH sportscar brand Lotus has arrived in New Zealand, with high-profile motor vehicle importer Neville Crichton to handle distribution of the iconic marque in his homeland.

Lotus will launch in New Zealand under Mr Crichton’s European Automotive Imports (EAI) business – the distributor of Maserati and Lotus in Australia – with a full range of its performance-focused sports coupes, and one dealership, located in Auckland’s “automotive heart”.

Run separately to Mr Crichton’s Ateco Automotive Group (with mainstream brands such as Great Wall, Chery, SsangYong and Foton trucks), EAI took over distribution of Lotus Cars in Australia in August 2011 with a view of doubling sales to around 100 units a year.

In announcing Lotus’ move across ‘the ditch’, Mr Crichton, who is executive chairman of the Ateco Group and EAI, said it had always been in the company’s plans to launch in New Zealand but he wanted to wait until the timing was right.

“Before doing so we wanted to ensure that the full range of Lotus models was correctly positioned for the New Zealand market in terms of price and equipment, there was full and free supply of those models and that we had the ideal representation in New Zealand for Lotus,” he said.

 center imageLeft: Neville Crichton.

“We have achieved these targets and we are now pleased to be able to launch Lotus on the New Zealand market.”

Lotus will launch in New Zealand with the brand’s three main models – the Elise, Exige and Evora.

The Elise will be offered in both standard 100kW guise as well as the more hi-po 162kW Elise S, while the 257kW/400Nm Exige S will be available in one specification only.

Four Evora variants will be offered from launch, including the standard 206kW version with either six-speed manual gearbox or six-speed automatic transmission, and the supercharged 257kW Evora S with a choice of either gearbox.

The first New Zealand dealership will be located in the Auckland suburb of Newmarket and the 768-square-metre site will be managed by dealer principal James Berry, who has previous experience with German and Italian brands, while Guy Starling will manage aftersales.

In May this year, Mr Crichton joined forces with former Fiat Chrysler Group Australia CEO Clyde Campbell to take on distribution of the Jeep, Chrysler, Dodge, Alfa Romeo and Fiat brands under the newly formed Fiat Chrysler NZ Ltd.

This adds to the New Zealand group’s stable that already includes Chery, Great Wall and Maserati.

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