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HI All,
Been out of town so don't know if posted. Here's text of the official press release from Lotus being named AutoExpress Specialist Car Manufacturer of the year award.

Chris


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Specialist Manufacturer Award for Lotus

Lotus Cars is given the Specialist Manufacturer Award by Auto Express at its
New Car Honours 2004

Lotus Cars, one of the UK's most admired sportscars producers, has been
awarded the Specialist Manufacturer award 2004 by Auto Express Magazine in
its recent new car honours.

This coveted award was presented to Clive Dopson, Manufacturing Director of
Group Lotus by Oliver Marriage, Road Test Editor for Auto Express at a
ceremony recently at the Waldorf Hotel, London in front of representatives
from the UK Motor Industry.

In 2000 Lotus invested over £6 million in a new Manufacturing Facility at
its Headquarters in Hethel, Norfolk, England. This facility produces all
Lotus models and also cars and components for third party manufacturers.
Over 13,500 lightweight sportscars have been produced in this facility in
this time - the highest run of production in Lotus' history.

Over the last two years, Lotus has introduced the Elise and the Exige to new
markets around the world including Japan, Mexico, Russia, Eastern Europe.
First deliveries of the Elise to the USA market took place last month (June
2004) following its unprecedented acclaim from the media, dealers and
customers at the launch. The USA market is expected to account for nearly
50% of the total volume of Elise models produced by Lotus. To accommodate
this high demand for Lotus cars, production rates will be increasing from 97
to 120 units per week over the next few months.

On receiving the award from Auto Express Magazine, Clive Dopson,
Manufacturing Director for Group Lotus said: "We are extremely pleased to
receive this recognition from Auto Express. Lotus sportscars have won a
great many awards over the years and it is fantastic for the Manufacturing
side of Lotus to win this accolade. Specialist Manufacturer of the year is
the perfect award for Lotus, for not only do we build the Lotus Elise and
Lotus Exige, the Opel Speedster and Vauxhall VX220 for General Motors, but
also we manufacture the advanced composite front and rear crash structures
for the Aston Martin V12 Vanquish. All this is done at Lotus' facilities in
Norfolk and I would like to thank the whole of the manufacturing team for
their hard work over the last year. The whole manufacturing team of nearly
700 people have done Lotus proud!"

Auto Express Magazine explained the reasons behind the Specialist
Manufacturer Award: "This award recognises Lotus's sterling achievements
over the past year. This year, Lotus produced the Elise 111R, with a 189hp
engine and improved ride and handling and the Exige coupe which is arguably
the most focused road car money can buy. Lotus has also used the Elise 111R
as a springboard for a launch into America. The Hethel-based firm has long
had a presence across the pond, but this Toyota-powered Elise should do
wonders for the firm's reputation. Mind you, getting the 111R past the tough
American emissions and safety regulations was no mean feat - although it
should mean sales will double to around 4,600 units per year. If that's the
case, then Lotus looks set for a rosy future with loads of exciting new
models on the horizon. Everyone at the firm deserves praise for their
impressive work over the last year. Long may it continue." Ends

Overview
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 OEMs 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, Elise and Exige; builds sportscars for General Motors and
manufactures the advanced composite front and rear crash structures for
Aston Martin V12 Vanquish.

Lotus Products and expansion into new markets:
Key to this new market expansion are the Elise and the Exige. The latest
addition to the Elise family is the 111R featuring a 1.8 litre VVTL-i engine
(Variable Valve Timing & Lift intelligent) producing a maximum power output
of 192PS (189hp, 141kw). Performance figures for the Elise 111R are of
supercar class with a 0-100km/h sprint in 5.2 seconds (0-60mph in 4.9
seconds) before reaching a maximum speed of 241km/h (150mph). This
phenomenal performance is also attributed to the Elise 111R's light weight
of just 860kg, making the British built sportscar not just one of the
lightest sportscars on the market but one of the lightest cars on sale of
any type! Coupled with a very strong and stiff aluminium chassis the Elise
111R continues to set standards by which all other sportscars are judged.
The Lotus Exige, unveiled at the Geneva Motorshow in March also has with the
1.8 litre VVTL-i engine has class leading aerodynamic downforce (which gives
41.2 kg of downforce at 160 km/h - 19.3 kg: front and 21.9 kg: rear) and
light weight. This gives phenomenal cornering power and handling as well as
safe braking and acceleration.


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