The current distributor of MG, Rover and Bentley models in South Africa, Pearl Automotive, has secured the rights to import Lotus models - such as the Elise and Exige - to South Africa.

The current distributor of MG, Rover and Bentley models in South Africa, Pearl Automotive, has secured the rights to import Lotus models - such as the Elise and Exige - to South Africa.


Pearl Automotive, a subsidiary of Imperial Group Holdings, currently has a dealer network of 19 outlets. The new venture with British-based Lotus Cars Ltd will see an investment of R7,1 million to establish a "dealership and parts & service network in line with the corporate image and training standards set out by Lotus".


"The Lotus brand compliments our "Best of British" stable perfectly", said Pearl Automotive executive director Piet Rademeyer. "We are excited to offer these sports cars on South African market."


"Our first allocation of cars are currently being shipped to us," Rademeyer added. These first Elise models will be available from the end of May and pricing will start at R375 000. The Exige model will complete the model line up later this year."


The Lotus Elise has achieved cult status in the United Kingdom by virtue of its made-for-the-track hardcore sports car credentials. Powered by Toyota's 141 kW 2ZZ-GE 1,8 litre 16-valve VVTL-i engine, the Elise 111R has an epoxy-bonded aluminium tub chassis and its kerb weight could be as low as 785 kg.


The model, which has a very Spartan interior in standard form, rides on Eibach coaxial coil springs and Bilstein high pressure monotube gas dampers and is claimed to accelerate from zero to 100km/h in 5,2 seconds, going on to reach a top speed of 241 km/h.


Lotus Cars' general manager for international markets, Glen Moir, said: "I would like to welcome Piet and his team at Pearl Automotive to the Lotus family. The South Africa market is important to us and we are pleased to have teamed up with such an enthusiastic and professional organisation.


"In future we will expand our lineup to include new products such as a mid engine supercar, so introducing the Lotus marque to a new group of Lotus fans and driving enthusiasts," he added.

Original article from Car