Tue, Jun 29, 2010 - Page 12 News List

Luxury Lotus sports cars set to return to Taiwan

By Jason Tan  /  STAFF REPORTER

Gama Lotus President Alex Chao, right, and guests yesterday promote three types of Lotus sports cars during a press conference in Taipei as the company hopes to regain local market share.

PHOTO: CNA

Eyeing race car fans with deep pockets amid a recovering economy, British luxury sports car brand Lotus is making a comeback to the Taiwan market after a 10-year hiatus.

“We have a strong presence in Asia, and Taiwan is where we have been wanting to come back,” Taddeo Bonelli, Lotus Cars Ltd’s territory manager for Asia (­excluding Japan), said yesterday on the sidelines of a press conference.

The British carmaker tailors its vehicles to race car fans, who have to pre-order the models, with some even ordering their preferred interiors and exteriors.

Lotus produces only 3,000 units a year globally, with Asia receiving about 500 units. Hong Kong, Singapore, South Korea, Japan, Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand are its major Asian markets.

The mass Chinese market is a “long-term goal” for Lotus to break into, but the company is putting its debut in the mainland on hold, wanting to wait until there is sufficient local understanding and appreciation for such cars, according to Bonelli.

With the Taiwan market now included in its expansion plans, Lotus is set to double production capacity over the next two to three years to 6,000 units a year, with the Asian quota for its race cars to rise “substantially,” he said.

“It is hard to find the right partner that understands the brand value and products of Lotus,” Bonelli said. “That’s why it was hard for us to get back into Taiwan these years.”

Late last year, Lotus decided to appoint Gama Lotus (嘉鎷興業) as Taiwan’s exclusive dealer, paving the way for its official comeback.

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