Meanwhile, Lotus plans to expand the retail network from 40 dealers to about 50 by the second quarter of next year, English says.
The 40th dealer, Desert European in Palm Desert, Calif., was added last month. English expects to add another dealership in California within two weeks.
"There are some markets where we are conspicuous by our absence," he says. "We are not in a couple of large cities - Indianapolis and Cleveland, just to name two."
The largest dealers are expected to sell 100 to 140 Elises a year, and the smallest about 10 to 12 cars, English says.
The Elise will be the only vehicle sold by Lotus dealers.
Deliveries of the $94,000 Esprit, launched in the United States in 1976, ended about two months ago, English says. Lotus says it has sold about 60 Esprits this year and says it sold about 150 in 2003.
Dealers have survived the product drought because all are dualed - mainly with high-line luxury brands.
The Elise has been on sale in Europe since 1996. But because of high demand there, a decision to export the car to the United States was not made until 18 months ago.