Lotus has the right products, great products, but is not selling enough cars as it should. This is the assessment of former top BMW exec Karl-Heinz Kalbfell, brought in late last year to mentor Lotus CEO Dany Bahar. The plan is to boost sales over the next 18 months, according to Autocar UK.
In its UK home market, Lotus is struggling. The Proton subsidiary sold just 272 cars in the first eight months of 2011, 24% less than 358 in the same period last year. The overall market is down by 6%.
“The brand is well known but the products are not. We are focusing on a new range of cars, but we must sell more cars now,” Kalbfell said, referring to Lotus’ spectacular five-year plan that will yield the new Esprit, a luxury GT and a four-door car, among other models.
“We have some great cars in our range, like the Evora. Many car companies would love to have the Evora in their range. Now the point must be to get the car on the shopping list of buyers,” he added.
To address this, Lotus has Frankfurt debutant Evora GTE. It’s the most powerful Lotus road car ever built, with a 444 PS V6, revised chassis, carbonfibre body parts, and a sticker price close to £120k. This will help pave the way and prepare customers for the new Esprit, which will surely be priced above £100k.
“We cannot just jump buyers up from the Elise to the Esprit,” said Kalbfell. Another such “bridging” model is the £40k Exige S that also debut in Frankfurt. “With 350 bhp and 1080 kg, who else has such a hot performance model at this price?” said Kalbfell.
On a different note, word is that Gerard Lopez’s Genii Capital, owners of Lotus Renault GP, is looking at buying into Group Lotus. Click here to read more.