BEIJING - Lotus Cars Ltd announced its official foray into China on Wednesday, seeing the huge potential from China's surging super sports-car market.
The British sports-car maker has authorized Symphony Lotus Ltd as its importer and distributor around the nation with the launch of a new logo tailor-made for the Chinese market.
"The entry into the Chinese market is an important step for us to improve and perfect our global strategy. I believe China's strong economy, as well as the Chinese younger generation and newly rich's enthusiasm for niche sports cars will further fuel our business," said Dany Bahar, chief executive officer of Lotus.
According to the Hurun Wealth Report 2011 released in April, China is close to having 1 million millionaires with personal wealth of 10 million yuan ($1.54 million) or more.
Zhang Lichen, chief executive officer of Symphony Lotus, told China Daily that the first dealership and showroom for Lotus will open in October in Beijing, to be followed by others in Shanghai, Chongqing and Guangzhou later in the year.
"We are investing in new dealerships throughout China to not only introduce the Evora, Elise and Exige, but also in preparation for the arrival of new Lotus sports cars, starting with the Esprit in 2013," Zhang said.
He also said that Lotus intends to sell 200 cars in China this year and plans eight additional dealerships in 2012.
China has become the focal point of the automobile industry not only because it replaced the United States as the No 1 global market in sales, but also because it has become the most promising market for luxury cars, especially super sports cars, showing the highest growth rate.
Each year on the first day of the international auto shows in Beijing and Shanghai, the big news has always been that someone snapped up a limited-edition super sports car for tens of millions of yuan.
The Italian super sports-car producer Automobili Lamborghini SpA, which entered China in 2004, has seen its annual sales increase almost tenfold compared with five years ago.
Stephan Winkelmann, its president and CEO, previously told China Daily that China will be its biggest market this year, after nearly tripling its sales year-on-year in 2010.
The Italian super sports-car company Ferrari SpA expects China to be its second-largest market in the near future, behind only the United States, said the company's CEO Amedeo Felisa.
He told China Daily that he hopes Ferrari will sell 600 vehicles this year in China after sales jumped nearly 50 percent year-on-year in 2010 to around 300 vehicles.
The German premium sports-car maker Porsche AG predicted its sales would surge more than 40 percent to surpass 20,000 vehicles this year.