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Lotus announced today its Elise is the company's most successful model in its 57-year history, setting a one-year sales record in the US โ€” 2,385 cars delivered โ€” and exceeding expectations by nearly 20%. Strong demand for the Elise has led Lotus to continue cultivating dealerships in the US, with dealers recently added in Cleveland, Richmond and Raleigh, and new plans for showrooms in Las Vegas and Sacramento. Lotus, majority-owned by Malaysia's Proton, also has several new models in the works, including the next-generation of its venerable Esprit coupe and a coupe with more refinements than the Elise, which will resurrect its Europa nameplate, and compete with Porsche's new Cayman. Whoever said Americans would never buy a stripped-down, lightweight, corner-on-rails, Toyota-powered, Lotus-tuned sports car for $40,000 was either waxing ironic or, more likely, works for Toyota. [Thanks to Zerin for the tip.]

Lotus to Go After Porsche Cayman with Europa; Lotus's New Europa: Sorting out the Facts; Lotus Reveals New, Elise-Based Circuit Car [internal]