October 23, 2014

Lotus show strongest growth in UK car registrations in 2013

Lotus_Factory

Figures recently released by the SMMT (Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders) for new car registrations this year to date show Lotus making the most progress and growth in the UK. With a 56.91% increase year on year Lotus beat all others showing that they are back on track and building cars in significant numbers once again. Other major players in the report are Japanese manufacturers Mitsubishi and Suzuki who show a growth of 42% and 32% respectively and Saab and Proton bookend the other end of the report with a 98% and 90% reduction.

With the range now including the Elise S, Elise Club Racer, Elise Cup R, Exige S coupe & Roadster plus Cup and Cup R and Evora range from base model through Sports Racer to GT4 cars Lotus have a 4 month waiting time for road cars and 9 month waiting time for motorsport cars. With the UK dealer network sadly suffering the loss of Christopher Neil’s in Cheshire and Stratstone in Leicester this year the rest of the network has been working significantly harder and the figures reflect the effort put in across the country with strong figures from Murray Motor Company, Bell & Colvill and Lotus Silverstone leading the dealer tables for sales.

Lotus are again looking to return to the motor show scene worldwide recent appearances at the Guangzhou International Automobile Exhibition and LA Auto Show and signs are that the marketing efforts are back on track following a period or dormancy while new owners DRB-HiCom took stock of their acquisition and laid foundations for a solid future for the company. This is reinforced by the recent grant to Lotus from the Regional Growth Fund which could see over 300 new jobs created at the Hethel factory.

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Comments

  1. :cheers:

  2. So, about how many cars in the UK are we talking? It is easy to get that growth if you didn’t sell anything last year.

  3. Wow! Good news!
     
    Buddsy

  4. 56.91%? That’s impressive. What’s that in unit numbers though? 3 cars and a door?

  5. I think by the end of the year there will be 200 new cars sales in the UK, a market which traditionally accounts for around 5% of Lotus worldwide sales. 

  6. I guess the flipside is that the ‘halo’ effect if owning Lotus hasn’t done Proton any good! Great news for Lotus though, the latest in a series of upbeat news items.

    You know, it’s beginning to look like DRB have done a pretty good job sorting them out, despite the doom merchants writing them off a few years ago.

  7. I think by the end of the year there will be 200 new cars sales in the UK, a market which traditionally accounts for around 5% of Lotus worldwide sales. 

     
    will the 200 include our V6 or are we talking end of 2013?
     
    Bibs using your numbers are we talking 4000 units or UK accounting for 10%
     
    definitely looking much better for Lotus, really pleased DRB saw [in Lotus] what we all know of our favourite marque; bloody excellent cars, excellent workforce and people wanting to own the product

  8. Glad to see things improving but last year was so dire, even a slightly less dire year would look good in comparison.
     
    But Bell and Colvill seem to have shifted quite a few Exige V6’s on their own. I really hope all the dealers have had a better year, they must have really suffered in 2012. Apparently the UK market only wants Exige V6s, Evora and Elise sales have all but dried up. Both models do better abroad. 
     
    As we all know the UK buys mainly German cars so domestic support remains pathetically low. The Lotus brand and heritage is more highly regarded abroad.
     
    Lotus need to take another look at the Elise. That’s where the volume should be coming from. It saved Lotus before, it can do it again! They need a lighter, cheaper base car plus an S model with a more exotic engine option to slot in between the base Elise and the Exige. The brilliant new Elise S just hasn’t caught on as well as it deserved to. I’m quite sure lots of GT86 buyers would rather own a Lotus if there was a lighter, better looking, more dynamic car available at a similar price. In fact that 200bhp flat four engine would be a stunning engine for an Elise. It could potentially be the best handling Elise ever with a much lower cofg. I’d supercharge it for the S too, all the parts already exist.

  9. It’s a huge increase percentage wise from what was a totally dire number of sales… it would’ve been an epic fail if DRB couldn’t improve on the previous years sales. Nothing to get excited about… 

  10. Lotus is growing again (even if very small figures), hiring… so it’s good news for us.
    But after Bahar I’m still nervous what will be the strategy for next years. When will start to see a real project for a new elise, esprit…

  11. It’s the right direction and that’s what matters. From a personal standpoint I feel all are over priced or under specified but on the other hand performance and driving pleasure can’t be matched so perhaps I’m just a bit sore I can’t afford one now.

    Trevor.

  12. I knew some of the nay sayers would be out for this one. Yes last year and the year before were pretty dire but that’s because of the previous bunch of muppets. With Sales up substantially, the Exige sorted and going out, new staff being hired, debts being paid off and DRB constantly stating that they will continue to support Lotus why would anyone complain that DRB seem to have pulled the company back from the brink of extinction?
     
    The cars are excellent drivers cars and, yes Trev, they are more expensive than I can afford as well. But they still hold true to the Lotus DNA and principle that they are drivers cars and still cheaper than other cars out there with similar performance. Lets face it, where else can you buy a car that looks and drives like the Exige, with that performance? I think Autocar recently said you would need to spend £100k plus to get acceleration like it!
     
    And lets not forget that the Evora, after years in production, are still holding their value well in comparison to some of the competition, F Type, for example.
     
    I can’t wait to buy one when they eventually get down to the level I can afford.
     
    It’s about time we had positive news more than doom and gloom, lets all now back the fact that we have 2 great products, over 1000 jobs have been saved and so has a company we all love.

  13. I agree and not sure I got the right vibe over with my post. Like most here Lotus has for me produced the most exciting and interesting cars ever so I’m pleased to see something positive. I also agree they hold their value extremely well compared to many which is probably down to under supply in the used market? Doubt it’s down to build quality :-)
     
    Trevor.

  14. Kimbers if you consider me one of the ‘naysayers’ then that’s a first!
     
    I usually get flamed on forums for being a blinkered Lotus fanatic!
     
    And by the way £100k doesn’t buy you much worth driving these days. Not even £200k will get you anything better to drive. More powerful, more prestigious, heavier and more high-tech yes but not better to drive. Better steering than the Elise, Exige and Evora is not available at any price.
     
    I also think both the Evora and Elise deserve to sell in considerable numbers, especially here in the UK. It shouldn’t come as surprise that a car developed in the UK works better on UK roads but even that basic point is lost on the buying public and car magazines alike. The Evora is a masterpiece and, for everyday use, there’s no car I would rather own. But this only adds to the frustration I have with the level of sales that Lotus are getting at the moment. The product is not at fault. Despite the infuriating bias UK car magazines have towards of german cars, they also lavished the Evora and Exige with praise. So it can’t be their fault either. There’s no question that Bahar decimated what little confidence there was left in the brand when it all went belly up. No vaguely impartial car buyer would have touched Lotus with a bargepole last year. Frankly I’m surprised how quickly things have turned around and thank goodness they have.
     
    But in a world where Aston Martin, despite all their funding, success and their hugely aspirational brand, are wondering where the hell they’ll get the money to launch a new range, we have to realise that outside Porsche and Ferrari, all the sports car makers are fighting for survival from here on in.

  15. I don’t consider anyone a nay sayer in particular Jonny. God knows I’ve done it enough in the past with other things and other people and it’s definately It’s not a criticism of anyone. We all have our opinions and live in a society where we can say our opinions (Up to a point before some PC idiot tells us off) .
     
    It’s More a call for those who really love the company to say well done to DRB instead of being knocked all the time.

  16. PC idiot .

     
    Is that your new nickname at the weekends? :hrhr:

  17. Awesome. Lotus are epic and everything.

    Two dealers gone man down, though. What do we know?

    Awesome

  18. I’m relieved and thankful DRB stepped-in and have kept the ship afloat. The day Lotus stop making cars is the day I stop buying them. Their silent, diligent approach is probably what was needed after the Bahar mouth/trousers ratio.
     
    But we won’t know much about them until we see whatever the next phase amounts to. At some point you have to stop treading water and head for shore!
     
    But I agree this is no time for doom and gloom, apologies.
     
    Lotus being the fastest growing car maker in the UK, how about that, Christmas cheer indeed!
     
    :santa: 

  19. So from those figures, Lotus sold 123 cars in the UK in 2012 and 193 cars in 2013.  Doesn’t sound like much, it seems the the UK buyer just doesn’t get Lotus.  Still global sales are up.
     

  20. I really don’t think it’s a case of UK buyers not getting it but the perception of the brand as not being premium until you get to the price list. It’s at that point I believe for many the sale is lost.

    Trevor.

  21. Of course the vast increase in UK sales, ( all 70 extra cars! ) could just as likely to be down to the F1 team as opposed to DRB’s phenomenal grasp of marketing…  :smoke:

  22. I don’t think UK buyers get a lot of things including that a car developed in the UK will work better on UK roads, that kerb weight matters far more than horsepower or the sound of the doors make when you shut them, that an Exige that was easy to get into wouldn’t have any side impact protection, that steering feel is the single largest contributor to driving pleasure, that we’ll miss the manual gearbox when it’s gone.

    I could go on…

  23. Unfortunately to 95% of the UK’s sports car buying public, what your keyring says (and the perceived wealth that goes with it) is much more important than all of that. 

  24. Agreed, most flash cars are a wealth statement first and foremost. Paddleshift autos make King’s road posing so much easier.
     
    But don’t these people get that driving like a tool in a supercar in London is probably the least cool thing a human being can do? Presumably the driver’s thinking ‘look at me, I’m a rockstar!’ Literally everyone around them is thinking ‘what a knob’! 

  25. Unfortunately to 95% of the UK’s sports car buying public, what your keyring says (and the perceived wealth that goes with it) is much more important than all of that. 

     
    Lotus should be targeting the other 5% that know what a sportscar’s all about, presumably that’s still a healthy enough market for a  small hand made British sports car. 

  26. Isn’t a successful company one which gives the buyers what they want rather than continuing to produce things they deem “better”.
    Without a market even the most brilliant of ideas will be a commercial failure. The market buys what it wants and the UK market doesn’t want what Hethel make.
    If they wish to be successful in the UK, make what the UK will buy.

  27. Nice thought it was very good news for a change but after reading some comments it isn’t !

  28. The market is an ass.
     
    The market wants SUVs.
     
    No-one knew they wanted an ipad until Apple made it. Or a 4WD sports car until the Quattro.
     
    The market likes 911s. Lotus marketing research discovered that more Elise customers moved up to 911s than any other car. Answer? The Evora – Lotus’s 911. 2+2. 6 cylinder. Great, daily useable all-rounder. What happened? Everyone bought 911s.
     
    If only it was as easy as just ‘making what the UK will buy.’
     
    You could easily argue that the market doesn’t want anything with a Lotus badge on it. What do you do then?
     
    The truly great, game changing sports cars show no regard for focus groups or give two hoots what the market wants. That’s what makes them great, they are a dream made real. A bold, singular vision born of the arrogance to believe that everyone else has got it wrong and your car is going to prove it. The market wanted high-tech in late ’80’s. The Porsche 959 was the most advanced road car ever made at the time. Ferrari run by a stubborn but visionary dictator responded with the F40. The opposite of what the market wanted and precisely the right thing to do. 
     
    This is a quote from an Apple ad:
     
    “Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.”
     
    That’s Colin Chapman right there.

  29. Well, they’re both dead I suppose. A bit like the UK market…

  30. The truly great, game changing sports cars show no regard for focus groups or give two hoots what the market wants. That’s what makes them great, they are a dream made real. A bold, singular vision born of the arrogance to believe that everyone else has got it wrong and your car is going to prove it. 
     
    That’s Colin Chapman right there.

    Colin Chapman it may well be, but I doubt it’s DRB’s vision of Lotus…
     
    I’m happy to be proved wrong though…  :smoke:

  31. This is a quote from an Apple ad:
     
    “Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.”
     
    That’s Colin Chapman right there.

    The secret of those Apple adds is making the customer BELIEVE he is all that because he bought an iPhone or iPad. In reality Apple builds very mainstream, albeit good looking, well designed products. 
     
    Build what the market wants and then spend a lot of money on marketing to make every customer think he bought something very special and exclusive. How else can a product like the iphone with 40% market share carry an image of exclusiveness?  :huh:

  32. Colin Chapman it may well be, but I doubt it’s DRB’s vision of Lotus…
     
    I’m happy to be proved wrong though…  :smoke:

     
    That was my point. Lotus needs a visionary in charge not a bunch of committees. I strongly suspect DRB is the latter but would love to be proved wrong.
     
    Lotus need to let the engineers and designers make the best, most innovative car they can with the resources available. It should then be up to the marketing department to sell it. ‘Me too’ cars actually make marketing really difficult. Breakthrough, revolutionary cars make it almost unnecessary. It all goes horribly wrong when you have the marketing department telling the engineers what to make. You end up with the Porsche Macan.
     
    If the sports car market was more competitive these SUVs would be a disaster for the Porsche brand which was built up through years of motorsport to be Germany’s one sports car-only brand. They can only get away with it because sportscar buyers who can’t afford a Ferrari don’t know what else to buy.

  33. The secret of those Apple adds is making the customer BELIEVE he is all that because he bought an iPhone or iPad. In reality Apple builds very mainstream, albeit good looking, well designed products. 
     
    Build what the market wants and then spend a lot of money on marketing to make every customer think he bought something very special and exclusive. How else can a product like the iphone with 40% market share carry an image of exclusiveness?  :huh:

     
    I think you’re forgetting how lame computers were before Apple.
     
    The Mac user interface was revolutionary. It was copied by Bill Gates just in time to save the PC which could and should have been wiped out by it. No Mac, no mouse, no windows, no Microsoft.
     
    Apple’s major contribution continues to be through software and is no less significant for that. Smartphones were headed down the fiddly Blackberry stylus route until the iphone. Would touchscreen tech have developed so quickly and become so widespread without the iphone? I think not.
     
    Oh, and Apple don’t really do proper ads any more, at least not clever ones. Apple really only use mass media as a shop window to present their products, there is no clever twist or strategy going on other than they don’t want to be seen as trying too hard. They want the ads to be clean, simple and straight talking. I see why they’re doing it but it’s now a very boring account to work on.

  34. Purely from an outsider’s point of view, I expect that sales had dropped primarily due to the perception that the company might not survive and the negative effect that this would have on after-sales servicing, warranty, spare parts availability, residuals etc.. When spending 60K-odd on a new car, that’s a perfectly understandable reaction and there are a number of examples of this occurring to other manufacturers in recent history. The default (i.e. boring and predictable) choice for potential Lotus buyers then becomes Porsche.
     
    What the current Lotus owners now need to do is tell the world that the company is here to stay, market the existing range better whilst developing the range sensibly; i.e. not just never-ending facelifts/renaming like Rover and not 5 new cars simultaneously like Mr Bahar.
     
    I don’t think it is correct to say that Lotus is not making what customers want: for example they must have benefitted more than most from the track-day boom of the past 15 years or so, and the road cars are pretty much universally lauded in the press. The fact that UK sales have been so poor means that the marque still retains the exclusivity that others have since lost. With the UK apparently coming out of recession, maybe this is the ideal time for a Lotus renaissance?

  35. All those saying the UK market is an ass/weird/badge oriented etc are absolutely right. Even the industry recognises this. When I was at Honda they announced that their intention was to compete directly with BMW, Audi and Mercedes. They then brought out the new (We are not talking their current offering) Accord, Civic, CRV and a few other nice but niche models (FRV). Within 6 months it looked like it had started to work with average age of buyer dropping from mid 60’s to mid 40’s.
     
    Civic and CRV were a revelation and Accord was selling excellently into the company car market. with it’s Sport and EX models, Sat nav, Bluetooth, Cruise, half/full leather big alloys, Auto wipers and lights etc  All as standard and still cheaper than the German brands and it wasn’t like the German cars performed or drove better, they didn’t! . Frankly I was having it away.
     
    BUT you only picked up the 5% who were car oriented rather than brand oriented. The number of times I heard “Yeah but it’s not a BMW” or was told spec and price were the most important thing, yet then lost to a German Brand even though they were lower spec and more pricey was unbelieveable. (they always removed the model badge off the back of the BMW though).
     
    A lot of my Italian friends shake their heads when I mention Mercedes as a Premium brand in the UK “Here they are a Taxi!”
     
    I drive a Peugeot 3008 Allure. When people ask what I drive, would I rather say “An Audi” than “A Pug”, yeah sure, but I have the last laugh because my 3008 is one of the best cars, for what I need it for, on the road. I absolutely love it! And I’m independent. I’ve had over 20 cars in the last 5 years, VW’s, Audi’s, Honda’s, Fords, Chryslers, Kia’s and I prefer it over everything else. But, even though I hate admitting it, I would rather say I own a “Premium brand” when discussing it with other people as most of them don’t understand good/bad cars. Just brands. I really don’t want to spend an hour trying to make them understand when all they throw back at you is “But BMW are better”.
     
    So relating this to the Sports car market, why would you buy a Porker over a Lotus? Because, like the company car market, they don’t understand cars, it’s a status thing and it is more a UK thing than the rest of the world.
     
    That’s why I like it here. We all know cars and driving experience is essential, charisma, competitive price, passion, likewise. And I love being a fan of a British brand.

  36. What has to help is the ridiculous price inflation of fast cars.

     

    Porsche know how to charge and they’ve been left behind by Ferrari, Lamborghini, McLaren and Aston Martin.

     

    15 years ago the V8 Ferrari (F355) just tipped over the £100k mark. It took a while for them to get past £120k then suddenly, boom, there are people paying over £220k for high-spec 458s. The price of the Porsche Turbo was much closer to the F355 in the late ’90’s than even the new 991 Turbo S is to the 458.

     

    But Porsche have cottoned-on and now a basic 991 Carrera is easily over £100k. The new GT3 is looking like a relative bargain but again what are they going to cost people after a run through the Porsche confleecerator? The GT3RS is going to have to be over £120k basic and that used to be an £80k car. Even Nissan hiked the GTR price up £20k overnight for no apparent reason at all!

     

    With all this going on there is barely a car worth buying at around £50k, which used to be the level your average hardworking man could one day aspire to. Certainly £120k is absurd money for a car to use regularly on the track. So hopefully more and more will see the benefit of an Exige as a useable track toy with reasonable running costs. As such it doesn’t matter about the parts bin switchgear and the odd squeak or what noise the door makes when it shuts. They’ve got the 911 PDK for taking the mistress to fancy restaurants.

  37. Jonny,
     
    is your last line applicable to YOU?

  38. Heavens no!
     
    I’ve got my hands full dealing with one woman and two kids, I honestly have no idea how anyone could find the time or energy to deal with a bit on the side as well. The mind boggles.
     
    I’m with Jay Leno.
     
    Many cars. One woman.

  39. So relating this to the Sports car market, why would you buy a Porker over a Lotus? Because, like the company car market, they don’t understand cars, it’s a status thing and it is more a UK thing than the rest of the world.

    That is definitively not just a UK thing. Worldwide premium cars sell over the brand. What else really distinguishes them? You can buy an Audi A4 or a Seat Toleda, which is basically just the previous model. 90% of all customers wouldn’t notice any difference in a blind test.
     
    Sports cars are no different. Again maybe 5% of the owners will ever track their cars, maybe 25% at least try to experience the performance at least once, but the majority of Porsches are used to drive to work, to the bar or to the golf club. Lambo, Ferrari, et.al. are no different, how else would Southern California be such a prominent market for these cars? Hell, the majority of these cars have never even seen 6th gear, never mind 3-digit mph figures.

  40. BMW drivers see 3 digit figures. After they’ve removed them off the back so everyone thinks it’s an M3. Sadly, most of us out there know the difference and they just look like a plonker :)

  41. But as before, BMW don’t care. They are selling what people want to buy.

  42. In that case what do you suggest Ford do when the market would rather have a de-badged poverty spec BMW 3-Series than a fully loaded Mondeo V6?
     
    The market’s saying: ‘make a worse car, offer less value for money and get rid of all the Ford badges.’  

  43. Ford make Ka, Fiesta, B-Max, Focus, C-Max, Grand C-Max, Kuga, S-Max and Galaxy as well as the Mondeo. I doubt whether they’re too fussed about one engine configuration of one model being outsold by an entire range of another marque.

  44. Seen a lot of this type of comments before on here.  Image is everything.
     
    I have just got an Alfa Brera as my main car.  When discussing it at work someone said to me that “Alfa’s are shit”.  When I asked him why, he went on about the rust problems (circa late 70’s) and that he didn’t like Fiats braking system around the same time.  Talk about prejudice, that’s like judging me on my work performance today aged 41 based on my school report from when I was 6 years old.
     
    But mud sticks, and it sticks a hell of a long time.
     
    Ford were dominant in the 80’s, but the product wasn’t great.  They are probably making some of the best cars in their classes and yet everyone wants to buy German.
     
    Oh, and regarding the visonary that Lotus needs.  Anyone remember Dany Bahar?  He had it, and we mocked him for being a dreamer and were proved right, but he added the glitz and glam.  Trouble was there was no product to back it up.
     
    Its a hell of an uphill struggle, and prudent thought DRB may be its all they can realistically do given the amount of money it would really take.  And Proton are hardly the ideal technology partner.

  45. It falls to me to inject a bit of realism here… Donning hard hat…
     
    The theme on this thread seems to be “Lotus products are fine, and the market is stupid”. 
     
    I have no problems with people making a personal choice about the cars they like best, but everyone is different, and personal choices are of no use at all in analysing why Lotus has had such a rocky ride for most of its history, why they sell so few cars today – even in ‘the good times’, and why, with such low sales, they remain unable to properly fund development of new products.
     
    “The Evora is a masterpiece and, for everyday use, there’s no car I would rather own. But this only adds to the frustration I have with the level of sales that Lotus are getting at the moment. The product is not at fault….Despite the infuriating bias UK car magazines have towards of german cars, they also lavished the Evora and Exige with praise. So it can’t be their fault either.”
     
     
    No wonder, thePits, you’re frustrated if you expect everyone to see the world as you see it. But they don’t. The reality is somewhat different. Putting my “buyer’s hat” on, I tried to dig up the most recent comparison between the Evora and the competition I could find. Here’s what Evo have to say about the Evora a year ago (and there’s lots they like about the Evora):
     
    The Lotus is a pretty car. Its delicate features and cinched waist are the polar opposite of the Nissan’s hulking frame, while its mid-engined proportions and slender body also make it seem smaller and sharper than the Porsche. It certainly feels tighter when you get in, as you really have to fold your legs to avoid scuffing them against the door. 
    This Evora S is equipped with the IPS paddle-shift torque-converter auto. It’s the first time I’ve tried the system and first impressions are good, both because it’s smooth and intuitive to use, but also because the manual gearbox in the Evora can be a bit snaggy between ratios. 
     
    As predicted, the contrast between the Lotus and the Nissan is almost bewildering in its severity as you struggle to contain the joy brought by the Evora’s damping and steering and the disappointment of its comparative lack of pace. There’s no question Lotus remains the master of ride and handling. There’s such subtlety to the steering and shades of grey to the damping that the Evora feels utterly controlled and reassuring, yet continually alive in your hands. There’s never any sense of it fighting the tarmac, just a hugely satisfying fluidity that enables you to find a rhythm with the road. If only all cars could feel like this.With 345bhp and 295lb ft of torque, the Evora S is very much on a par with the Carrera for on-paper output, and a 0-62mph time of 4.8sec and a top speed of 172mph back up the parity. In certain situations the Evora’s more abundant mid-range torque scores an advantage over the Porsche, but the overall sense is of a drivetrain that’s effective but lacks the sparkle of a truly sporting engine such as the Porsche flat-six.
    However, the Evora S’s biggest flaw is its price (£61,500 basic, a whopping £71,600 for this test car), for it doesn’t have the quality or refinement of the Carrera, nor does it have the same level of practicality. That’s a huge shame for a car that delivers such a high-quality driving experience, but this is a fiercely competitive sector and one in which the Lotus sadly feels out of its depth as an all-round product.”
     
    External
     
     
    Summing up then, brilliant steering feel and control, plenty of power, avoid the manual gearbox, the rest of the drivetrain lacks sparkle, a bit cramped and impractical, hugely overpriced for the quality and refinement in comparison with the Porsche, and, rather damningly ‘sadly feels out of its depth as an all-round product’.
     
    There are lots of reasons people may buy a porsche, but even if you *are* a driver who just wants the best, the Evora is not the automatic choice for these reviewers either. Perhaps one to try, but not perfect.
     
    People go on about the Elige saved Lotus, but it didn’t, otherwise we’d not be having this debate. Even when Elise production was at its height, the company was unable to grow sales and profits. It remained a sick creature perennially in need of outside investment, and no wonder. Few would contemplate a Lotus today as an only car, and it’s not just about the risk of Lotus going tits-up again. Their products are generally less practical than the competitions’, making them a choice for those fortunate enough to have the money or the space for 2 cars, ruling out a vast chunk of the market.
     
     
     
    “There’s no question that Bahar decimated what little confidence there was left in the brand when it all went belly up.”
     
    The brand was dented by the owners who installed him to do something about a product range which few people wanted to buy and which wasn’t making enough money per car, then didn’t back him up with the funds needed to realise the change.
     
    And anyway, when has there been confidence in the brand? Lotus has always been a company on the edge. Ask the suppliers who have ended up being their creditors over the decades…yes even through the Glorious Elige Years!
     
    Bahar wouldn’t have been hired at all had there been confidence, sales and profits to guarantee the future of the company.
     
     
    “No vaguely impartial car buyer would have touched Lotus with a bargepole last year. Frankly I’m surprised how quickly things have turned around and thank goodness they have.”
     
     
    I’m glad that DRB have found enough cash to throw at Lotus to pay creditors enough to at least get it back on its feet making cars again, but the problems that Lotus faced before Bahar was invited to the company remain today – only things are even harder now than they were then.
     
    In short, Lotus remains on the edge – a producer of expensive cars with flashes of brilliance but a long list of negatives which put reviewers and buyers off in their hundreds of thousands.
     
     
    Meanwhile, in New Scientist this week, Porsche had 2 full page adverts.
     
    Advert 1:
     
    918 Spyder: This is a car which has destroyed the Nurburgring lap record and hasn’t (yet) been beaten by the P1, yet is a hybrid with a Co2 rating of 79g/km.
     
    Advert 2:
     
    Panamera S:  A luxury 4 door car that does 0-60 in 5.5 seconds but can go 20 miles on battery and is congestion charge exempt.
     
     
     
    I doubt that Lotus is even on the radar for Porsche, but nonetheless, the adverts declare “The DNA of the sports car has evolved“, and they have a point. 
     
    Lotus struggles to gain a significant percentage of the small segments of the market it even has products for. And it has little in the way of capability to develop the next generation of products for those markets, let alone participate in a larger part of the market where the money lies.
     
    Meanwhile, Porsche are building what people want. And they’re also building the most advanced sportscars around. No compromise.
     
    That Lotus are building and selling cars again is good news, but I can’t forget that 5 years ago, the company was on the edge, with vast amounts of investment needed to build a range of products that would sell in volumes and at a price which would secure the future health of the company, whilst meeting the ever toughening legislation.
     
    That remains the case today, doesn’t it?
     
    Here’s a test. Lotus floats on the stock market. Would you shift your investments to them? If not, why not?

  46.  
    Meanwhile, Porsche are building what people want. And they’re also building the most advanced sportscars around. No compromise.
     

    I think the difference is Porsche are building what dentists, lawyers, hedge fund analysts, whoever’s making serious money wants…. but Lotus make the things true sportscar enthusiasts want.
     
    This may be a romantic, blinkered viewpoint but in all seriousness it’s the key to their existence. Lotus are never going to compete with the likes of Audi or Porsche on build quality and hard specs, given the budget they’ll survive well in their own market selling to people who buy cars based on more than a badge…

  47. I think DRB have wellrecognized that the MUST compete with the likes of Porsche et.al. on build quality. And, if even the Italians (Lambo, Ferrari) can get their act together then you Brits must be able to dothe same.

  48. “I think the difference is Porsche are building what dentists, lawyers, hedge fund analysts, whoever’s making serious money wants…. but Lotus make the things true sportscar enthusiasts want.”

     

     

    Most of the cars Lotus is making right now cost 50 grand or more. Even the bottom-of-the-range Elise is almost 30 grand without options. Is that not serious money for a car which most people couldn’t even get into with the roof on?  If you can afford 30-70 grand for a Lotus, then you are, by definition, a potential Porsche customer. Lotus products are a rich person’s purchase. End of story.

     

     

    Lotus have to charge high prices because they are making hand-built cars in low volumes. So if they’re waving goodbye to dentists, hedge-fund dealers and so on because they’re not “true sportscar enthusiasts”, then well more fool them.

     

    If you’re a true sportscar enthusiast, who isn’t very wealthy, you’d be stupid to buy a new Lotus (or any other expensive new car) at all. There are far more sensible options, like buying secondhand!

     

    And if you do have the money, it’s just not true that a true sportscar enthusiast wouldn’t consider one of Porsche’s products, and that Lotus is the natural choice. The Cayman S easily competes as an option. There is no driving gulf between what  Lotus do and what the competition do. It’s marketing bollocks. That’s not to deride Lotus at all, but they have no secret formula, and their products have strengths and weaknesses – even for driving enthusiasts – just like the competition’s.

     

    I think it utterly remarkable that with such meagre resources Lotus can put together products that get so far, but the life of Lotus is that of a company perennially on the edge. And that’s the result of the glorious success of the Elige. And it’s like that for structural reasons that have been threatening it for decades. The Bahar thing was the result of an acknowledgement of this reality. Only the money didn’t follow. But something needs to be done to connect the marque to the luxury sportscar-buying public again, because this isn’t the 1970s anymore and you can’t be a world leader in sportscar manufacture with a shoestring outfit that is forever on the edge of oblivion.

     

    I’m sorry that I sound like I don’t mean Lotus well – I mean quite the opposite. Lotus have proven that their future cannot be secured by cars like the Elige, because they’ve been flogging that idea for getting on for 2 decades now, and they still need rescuing on a regular basis.

     

    Something significant needs to change. In the end, profit-per-car multiplied by number-of-cars-sold MUST equal amount-needed-to-secure-the-future, no matter what car company you are.

  49. Something significant needs to change. In the end, profit-per-car multiplied by number-of-cars-sold MUST equal amount-needed-to-secure-the-future, no matter what car company you are.

    Well stated! :clap:

  50. Sorry, still looking for the realism in cnapan’s post.

     

    It’s not realistic to expect Lotus to compete with Porsche in terms of build and technology both of which require VAST investment that clearly isn’t there. But until it arrives I’m glad that the resources Lotus have were not squandered on nonsense like making the doors go ‘thunk’. Lotus have to prioritize choose to spend what they have elsewhere on stuff that really matters (to me anyway) like suspension fine tuning – a lost art these days with the abundance of the very unsatisfying and largely ineffective electronic adjustable dampers. Why bother setting the car up properly when you can just give people another button to push inside that just makes the ride worse? If this along with 4 wheel electric steering is the evolution of the sports car, they can keep it!

     

    It is also wholly unrealistic for anyone to just ‘build the cars people want’. Don’t you think every car manufacturer would be doing exactly that if they could?! No way in a million years did Porsche see the success of the Cayenne coming.  It was no more than a toe in the water, hence the shameless rebadging of an existing VW SUV! Porsche definitely didn’t envisage building 911s for 50 years, they tried to get rid of it back in the 80’s! Equally Porsche must be bewildered by the continued lack of Cayman sales – a total flop by Porsche standards. I don’t get it either, I think the Cayman is a much better car than the 911 – or at least could be – if they would let it. But they won’t for fear of exposing the 911 which shows no confidence in or understanding of the market at all. Lastly, the one car we all know most definitely IS a ‘car people want’ would be a Cayman RS. And that’s the last car Porsche will ever build.

     

    See, it really isn’t as simple as merely ‘building the car people want’.

     

    As for quoting Evo magazine, I always recommend people drive cars themselves and make their own minds up. But if you want to go down that route both the Evora and Exige V6 are Evo Car Of The Year winners. So how is Lotus supposed to improve on that?! It’s very obvious that people aren’t buying the cars despite them being excellent. I guarantee you that a 991 with a Lotus badge on the nose would not sell either. The dealer network alone would limit it to a tiny fraction of what Porsche shifts.

     

    Elise and Exige account for over 30% of total Lotus production since 1948. Without them Lotus wouldn’t have survived the last 20 years and would have stopped trading some time ago. I think it’s fair to say it saved the company.

     

    Lotus have been on the edge for years as have nearly all the sports car manufacturers. It comes with the territory. But the cost of developing new models has dramatically increased making it harder and harder for anyone to compete. Aston Martin have essentially the same problem as Lotus going forward from here. Where is the money going to come from for new models? Every new model is a huge gamble and one that could easily sink the company. Apart from Porsche, Ferrari and thanks only to Audi -Lamborghini – everyone else is on the edge.

     

    Re the ‘marketing bollocks’ you might want to check your previous post!

     

    The DNA of the sports car has evolved

     

    “And they’re also building the most advanced sportscars around. No compromise.”

     

    Every road car is a compromise. How about keeping your engine out behind the rear axle for the sake of two tiny rear seats!? What Porsche is especially good at is judging that compromise, making good all-rounders.

     

    Your quotes from Evo would suggest that the way a Lotus drives is not marketing bollocks either.

     

    There’s no question Lotus remains the master of ride and handling. There’s such subtlety to the steering and shades of grey to the damping that the Evora feels utterly controlled and reassuring, yet continually alive in your hands. There’s never any sense of it fighting the tarmac, just a hugely satisfying fluidity that enables you to find a rhythm with the road. If only all cars could feel like this.

     

    This is why I would buy a sportscar. Endless acronyms are not.

     

    At the end of the day it’s incredibly tedious for armchair experts just to spout on about Lotus being more like Porsche. Anyone can back a winner, point to Porsche and say that’s how it should be done. But it’s like pointing to Barnsley and telling them to play more like Arsenal. Ultimately meaningless and not at all helpful.

  51. I don’t think anyone here wants Lotus to build a copy of the 911. What we are saying is that Lotus has to learn from Porsche an has to build cars that can be sold profitably. That won’t be a rerun of the Elige, but a better build quality Evora would go in the right direction.
     
    Lotus should position itself to be able to charge a premium for exclusiveness, not try to undersell the competition on price.

  52. Lotus will never be mainstream. Never. Nor should it try to be. It is the marque’s very “exclusivity” that provides the lion’s share of its allure to the general public (at least those who know of the brand and its “checkered” history) and driving enthusiasts alike. It remains a limited quantity, mostly hand built, well-nigh anachronistic creature in today’s market, possessing just enough modern enhancements to reflect pragmatic marketing needs. But at its “heart and soul” level Lotus has historically elected to persevere as an alternative to today’s uber expensive motoring “fashion statements.” Not that a new Lotus isn’t a somewhat pricey statement in itself, but that statement is also a strong expression of an appreciation for “pure” driving pleasure, totally aside from the “look at me” aspects of high echelon wealth-driven primarily status symbol image generating marques.

    You have to be somewhat demented (in the best sense of the word) to desire a Lotus. It is not a car for “everyman.” You almost have to masochistically embrace the quirks involved in ownership. The “graceful entry and exit” maneuver alone requires weeks (if not years) of training.

    This is not to say that the likes of Porsche, et al, don’t have their own admirable attractions, but those attractions seem to appeal to a far different genre of drivers. The acquisition of a Lotus entails a “commitment” that not all are willing to make. And this is as it should be.

    “For the few who know the difference.”

  53. “For the few who know the difference.”

    Like that, as long as “the difference” does not mean lower quality by design.
     
    However, I’m not on you with the “quirks involved in ownership.” Not that I reject them, but looking at the Evora I think it almost insulting. It is a very modern car and I have seen nothing that would truly qualify as a quirk. Albeit entry and exit may e a bit difficult, but that is true of every sportscar. The drivetrain is state of the art (well, Toyota mainstream), the handling space age and above and the design gorgeous. Meanwhile even the build quality is very good.

  54. “For the few who know the difference.”          
     
    yep like that; when we do collect the V6 roadster it will be our 3rd brandnew Lotus in less than 4 years, and therefore not sure if we are mad or the cars are just brilliant and are we want; or possibly both!

  55. End of year results are out today. Lotus are up 87% year on year in the UK :)

  56. End of year results are out today. Lotus are up 87% year on year in the UK :)

     
    Yes 63 cars in December that is really good !

  57. Does anyone have visibility of total production and global sales? Would be good to see if the new dealerships dotted about the Middle East and AsiaPac are having any impact yet.


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