Lotus drives into China

The British company famous for building the Lotus sports car has officially arrived in China as of last week. But a local translation had to be figured out for the brand as there are already cars carrying the Lotus nameplate in Chinese – Lianhua.

The L3 and L5 are existing Lianhua models made by Zhejiang based car and domestic bus manufacturer China Youngman Automobile Group Co Ltd. The company has helped with the engineering arm of the Lotus Group since 2006 to produce vehicles with the Youngman Lotus badge or in Chinese Qingnain Lianhua.

PR manager Yang Cheng for the newly established Beijing sales company for Lotus said that Lotus Engineering and Lotus Cars are independent subsidiaries of Group Lotus plc. While one offers engineering and solutions to Lotus and different car manufacturers the other makes and sells luxury sports cars.

He denied any trademark dispute that was reported in the media between Youngman and the company. He said they wanted a more global image just like Infiniti, Lexus and Bentley are doing in China.

The Chinese name Lutesi has been adopted by the company as it has three characters that comprise it and it sounds similar to Lotus but with no connection in meaning to the flower. They also need a name to establish a new image in the market in China to differentiate themselves from the lower priced Lianhua cars made by Youngman.

The Lianhua cars from Youngman sells for about 100,000 yaun while a Lotus sports car is equivalent in price to a Ferrari or Porsche. In 1996 Proton a Malaysian automaker acquired Group Lotus. Huand Zhiqiang a Youngman spokesman said they will continue working with Lotus Engineering to develop more models for SUV and MPVs in accordance with the first agreement.

After saying in marketing campaigns that Youngman products have the same heritage as the Lotus from Britain, Huang vowed that his company will clear any confusion and release a entirely distinct strategy next month for Youngman Lotus. Lotus plans to build at least 25 dealerships in the next three years in China.