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22 July 2008

Lotus is Sixty and on Track with the Five Year Plan

The Lotus Evora has arrived and will provide a solid foundation for the future of Britain’s most exciting sportscar company and engineering consultancy – Group Lotus plc

The Lotus Evora is first of the three new models that form part of a bold five year strategic plan that CEO Mike Kimberley kicked off in October 2006. Lotus will have a three-platform portfolio of sportscars, from the Elise family and her sisters Exige and Europa, through to the new Evora 2+2 coupe, and the brand flagship, a mid engine supercar entering the global marketplace in 2010.

Group Lotus and their 2+2 coupe, the Evora, is leading the motor industry into a new era; an era where priorities of efficiency, economy and environmental impact have to go hand in hand with performance, design and individuality.

Mike Kimberley, Chief Executive Officer of Group Lotus Plc explains, “The automotive industry is focusing on its obligations to reduce its share of global CO2 emissions and improve overall efficiencies” Lotus Engineering has highly respected technical abilities, and these are in strong demand. “Our brand value of ‘performance through lightweight’ is leading the automotive industry to produce lighter and more efficient vehicles. We are continuing to research and develop new vehicles which utilise future fuels, alternative engines, hybrid and electronic solutions for our next generation of models.” Kimberley concluded.

Lotus is a dynamic and adaptable company, and the Lotus Evora is a perfect example of this expertise. Conceived, and nurtured through complex engineering and advanced development programs before its release at the British Motorshow in July 2008. A type approved sportscar ready for sale around the world in just 30 months. Lotus doesn’t hang about! Lotus Engineering meanwhile is recognised as one of the finest automotive engineering consultancies in the world, and has an extensive global client base. Almost 30% of all cars on the road have a little bit of Lotus in them; be it engine design, chassis engineering, ride and handling development, or even the overall styling. In the last two years, Lotus has delivered over 620 separate engineering projects to more than 120 clients around the world - spanning whole vehicle programmes for one of the world’s biggest car companies to a study of how knee surgery will effect brake pedal effort for drivers after their operations.

This year has already provided several highlights so far, and these include:

• Lotus Engineering has entered into a joint cooperation programme with KACST, the King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology with the intention to promote the establishment of an ecologically driven automotive technology capability in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

• The acquisition of Lotus Lightweight Structures. This was following the acquisition of Holden Lightweight Structures Limited, who manufacture Lotus aluminium platforms and chassis, including those for the Elise, Exige, Europa and the 2-Eleven along with aluminium and composite components for Lotus Engineering’s extensive global client base.

• In February Lotus Engineering and Mubadala Development Company (Mubadala) announced the signing of a long-term ‘Memorandum of Understanding’ (MOU) with the joint aim to further enhance Abu Dhabi’s position at the forefront of environmentally orientated technologies and accelerate the development of its manufacturing and business infrastructure.

• More recently in May 2008, Lotus and the Dutch Supercar manufacturer Sypker reached an agreement on the outline of an intended cooperation, which will include a Parts and Platform Commonality Agreement with Lotus as the preferred engineering and parts supplier for Spyker's new C8 Aileron super sportscar, and a concept Design and Engineering Agreement relating to Spyker's future models.

Mike Kimberley and his experienced Lotus management team are credited with turning the company around, and are nearly one third of the way through delivering the ambitious five year plan with both the unveiling of the Lotus Evora, and global growth of Lotus Engineering entering all-new markets of China, India and the Middle East. Mike Kimberley explains further, “I am pleased to say that my plan for Lotus is on target, and the teams around the world have already done a terrific job. We have exciting technologies and innovations in the pipeline, and most importantly the group is returning to profitability. I would also like to take this opportunity to personally thank our shareholders Proton Holdings Berhad for their ongoing support to Lotus. Without their corporate guidance and investment over the years, Lotus would not be in the position as it is today – a world leader in a globally competitive market.

“Lotus Engineering will lead the way in finding solutions to reduce CO2 emissions, increase performance, improve efficiency and reduce weight in all types of vehicles both for Lotus and our global engineering client base. “The new Lotus Evora shows how Lotus can keep delivering quantum leaps towards improving the efficiency and sustainability of the motorcar. This is keeping Britain at the forefront of high technology. We expect the motor industry to follow our brand value of ‘performance through lightweight’. Surely it’s the only way forward, as Colin Chapman and the last 60 years of Lotus has proved!