After having its plans disrupted by the economic crisis, Lotus Cars Asia Pacific Sdn Bhd (LCAP) – a unit of Proton – is optimistic that it will sell between 60 and 80 units of the Lotus Elise in Malaysia this year. To date, nearly 40 units of the exclusive sportscar have been sold since it was introduced in February 1999.
“We had some big plans for the car when we began assembly at the Proton plant in late 1998 but by the time we got price approval and began marketing the Elise in early 1999, people were not in the mood to buy cars!” LCAP Deputy General Manager Oh Kah Beng told AUTOWORLD.COM.MY recently.
According to Mr Oh, besides the 38 units sold in Malaysia, another 11 were exported to Singapore. In the past 12 months, LCAP also sold 11 units of the Lotus Esprit GT3 V8 imported from the factory in UK.
While most of its efforts will be focussed on selling the RM198,000 Elise which is assembled on a special line at the Proton plant in Shah Alam, LCAP is also taking orders for the new Lotus M250.
“Following the announcement at the Geneva Motorshow this year that the M250 will go into production, we are taking orders but the customer will still have to wait at least three years for delivery,” Mr Oh said. He added that the car’s price before Malaysian import duties would be around £40,000; this would make it around RM850,000 (after taking into account current import tax and exchange rate).
He also revealed that there are confirme orders from two Malaysian buyers for the limited-production Lotus 340R, of which only 339 units will be available for sale. LCAP is also taking orders for the car but acceptance will be subject to availability; at present, demand has already exceeded supply.