Lotus’ European sales growth echoes resurgence in the UK

The Lotus Elise Sport pictured outside Stow Mill. Photo: Group Lotus PLC

The Lotus Elise Sport pictured outside Stow Mill. Photo: Group Lotus PLC - Credit: Archant

Soaring sales at one of Norfolk's biggest global brands prove 'Lotus is back', according to its boss.

Group Lotus CEO, Jean-Marc Gales. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Group Lotus CEO, Jean-Marc Gales. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2015

The 375 cars registered in the UK in 2015 were a rise of 60pc, up from 235 the previous year, and represent the best figures achieved by the firm since 2010.

As well as nearly doubling its dealer network at home and abroad, the sports car manufacturer saw substantial growth in other key European markets throughout 2015 including Germany, France and Italy.

Chief executive Jean-Marc Gales said: 'These are excellent sales results and prove definitively that Lotus is back.

'I would like to thank our excellent dealer and service network in the UK and all our staff.'

The Lotus Exige Sport pictured at Burnham Overy Staithe. Photo: Group Lotus PLC

The Lotus Exige Sport pictured at Burnham Overy Staithe. Photo: Group Lotus PLC - Credit: Archant

The UK proved the manufacturer's biggest market, with Japan next in line as the brand exported 83pc of cars.

It comes as car manufacturing reached a 10-year high, with more vehicles exported than ever before.

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Almost 1.6 million cars were built in the UK in 2015, an increase of 3.9pc over the previous year, reported the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders.

Nearly four out of five cars were exported, up by 2.7pc on 2014, despite a huge fall in sales to China and Russia.

Exports to Russia slumped by 69pc and by 37pc to China, where the economy has been slowing.

But this was offset by economic recovery in Europe, where demand for UK-built cars increased by 11pc in 2015.

Lotus has endured a period of job cuts and efficiency savings in the past 18 months as Mr Gales has sought to turn the business around.

Globally, Lotus increased the number of dealerships to 202 in 2015, up 46pc from May 2014.

In the UK seven new dealerships were appointed, taking the total to 16.

This year the firm expects the USA to be its biggest market once deliveries of the Evora 400 arrive this spring.

The new appointments include two showrooms in London - the first time the company has had a presence in the capital since 2009.

Last year the firm successfully launched a range of models including the new Evora 400, Elise Sport and Elise Sport 220 and new Exige Sport 350 from its headquarters at Hethel.

Do you have a business story? Email kate.royall@archant.co.uk