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Proton takes over Lotus distribution

Sports imports: Proton plans to increase Lotus sales by about 20 per cent.

Australian distributorship of Lotus sports cars taken on by Proton

13 Oct 2004

PROTON Cars Australia has taken over the distribution of Lotus sports cars in Australia and New Zealand.

The change, implemented on Monday, follows the purchase of Lotus Cars Australia from Melbourne-based Prestige Motor Imports Pty Ltd (part of the Zagame Automotive Group), which has held the distribution rights for the famous British marque since 2000.

The purchase of the Australian distributorship is a logical progression since Group Lotus Plc became a wholly owned subsidiary of Malaysian national car company Proton in 2002. Proton had previously acquired 80 per cent of Lotus in 1996.

Lotus Cars Australia will move operations from Melbourne to offices located within Proton Cars Australia headquarters in Sydney.

The sales and marketing functions of Lotus will be separate to Proton in the Australian market.

That structure is designed to ensure Lotus maintains its independence and character. But back-office functions such as administration, accounting, IT and parts distribution will be shared.

Proton Cars Australia managing director John Startari said the purchase of the Lotus Cars Australia distributor would allow the sports car marque to achieve increased growth in Australia utilising Proton’s resources.

The Zagame Automotive Group Pty Ltd. (trading as Lotus Melbourne) will retain the exclusive dealership rights for Lotus in Victoria"Our plan is to grow Lotus sales by approximately 20 per cent per year over the next three years with the goal of achieving sales volume of 200 to 300 units per year within five years," Mr Startari said.

About 90 of the hard-core Elise and Exige two-seat sports cars will be sold in Australia in 2004, but the sales drive will be built on a wider product line-up based on a sophisticated aluminum architecture.

Included in that range will be a new generation Esprit Supercar that is first expected to break cover at the 2005 Frankfurt motor show next September.

* The main operating subsidiary of Group Lotus Plc is Lotus Cars Ltd which has two operating divisions – Lotus Cars and Lotus Engineering:Lotus Engineering provides comprehensive and versatile consultancy services to many of the world’s original equipment manufacturers, including parent Proton, and Tier 1 suppliers, offering a full engineering service from initial concept and project design through development to full production prototype build.

Lotus Cars builds and commercialises Lotus sports cars, builds sports cars for General Motors and manufactures the advanced composite front and rear crash structures for Aston Martin V12 Vanquish.

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