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cnapan last won the day on November 2 2013

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  1. Autocar reports on JLR's recent success. Bits of interest include: "Before taxes, JLR had a profit margin of 17.9 per cent, which is likely to be the highest in the car industry." and... "Jaguar and Land Rover sold a combined 113,000 vehicles, 27 per cent more than the same period in 2012." and... "With a quarterly profit of £619 million after tax, JLR now seems to be covering its massive R&D budget from day-to-day profits." Meanwhile, in Norfolk, the charity collecting tins have been in place over the christmas period and I hear there's almost enough coppers to pay for a new special edition paint job for the Elise. (Sorry... the Lotus skip story was just too depressing, because I got genuinely excited when I saw the thread title!)
  2. It looks like it'll be just as hard to get into as an Elise with the roof on!
  3. Jonny, since your family has been such sterling supporters of the german brand, and surely you've wafted Lotus products their way, maybe you should compile a report based on their decision-making process and submit it to Lotus so they could learn how to build products people actually want to buy! You know it's the right thing to do! :-)
  4. From this autocar article: "last year spending some £267m, which was ‘almost’ 15 per cent of the company’s revenues. It’s a proportion that is around double of what the typical premium carmaker spends on R&D." Let's be generous and say Lotus almost doubles sales in the next couple of years to 5k cars per year. Average price in GBP (including worldwide sales)? 60K? Rounding up generously again to the nearest 100 million, that's 300 million turnover. Any idea about how much of that turnover is going to be profit? 10 Million? 50? 100? (unlikely...) And what *ought* it to be spending in order to keep its market growing against the competition? What is the shape of that successful car business 5 years down the line? (Just questions - no answers, but I hope one day to fill in the blanks!)
  5. It's important not to underestimate the effect of currency exchange rate fluctuations. Though the AUD is off its recent highs, this is the 10 year EURO-AUD graph, and you can have fun with other currencies: The bottom line is that a lot of countries have run their finances abysmally over the last few years, including ours, and this has left the AUD gaining value generally, which is not what you want if you're trying to export cars. I don't know the history of Toyota in Australia, but I bet they made the move on the basis of the currency strength in comparison to the rest of the world, and that story has changed dramatically. In short, thank your lucky stars that our own country has been run as badly as many other recently, as it's kept the pound (and exports) competitive! [edit] - On the topic of 'can people afford cars', the answer is - "yes, ever more can", regardless of 'global downturns'. The production moves around, but all the indicators are that the world buys more cars each year. This isn't about the world needing fewer cars. it's about manufacturers having to juggle the costs of production in different locations and the shifts in success of various manufacturers. In 2012, the number of cars produced topped 60 million per annum for the first time.
  6. The pits: you asked "I'd be really interested to know your idea a Lotus that "people want to buy" might be. I don't think the answer is a single car, but it's easier to find buyers for your products if some of them at least fit more easily into people's lives as an only vehicle. That said, Lotus knows that profit-per-car x number of cars sold is what delivers them the cash to invest in the future, so they ought to be working out for themselves what is going to deliver the finances needed to fund continuous development. It's worth noting that Lotus have always sold very low volumes - far lower historically than in the last couple of decades, and they've had a never ending string of catastrophes, contractions, expansions, developments, halts in development, scandals - the works. They're certainly not alone in this respect, and in a way it's a miracle they've survived at all, but I'm just asking if there's a way out of this never-ending cycle of hope and despair. I'm pretty sure the way out isn't to copy the approach the company tried for the last 20 years, but maybe someone can tell me why it'll work this time round...
  7. Poor old Lotus. It's just so unfair! Why do all those other manufacturers have loads of swanky dealerships? If only Lotus had 10 times the number of dealers, well sales would rocket, right? Look at what Maserati are doing (Maserati in the UK sold 500ish cars in the UK in 2013) : A few months back they unveiled plans to double the dealer network and aim to sell 1800 in 2014, and globally they're aiming to increase sales five-fold in 2 years to 50,000 a year. "The growth is driven by the launch of new products, with the new BMW 5-series rivalling Maserati Ghibli and upcoming BMW X5-rivalling Maserati Levante accounting for the bulk of new sales" Oh hang on.. see what they're doing there? It's not just about numbers of dealers... it's about product that people want to buy. If Lotus get that right, then they'll sell like hot cakes and new dealerships will start opening everywhere. If they carry on doing what they've been doing for the last 20 years, well they probably don't need any more dealers!
  8. Is that the world's first implementation of a car with dynamic ride adjustment? I see it's on the 'bone shaking' setting, but if the black castors are retracted it would end up in the 'merely bloody awful' mode :-)
  9. There's really nothing new here. "Lets not forget that in 2008 under MJK the company made it's first profit in 10 years and that was done with tight cost control and planning, good Management and a profitable Engineering and specialist Sport's departments. All of which have been re-instigated under the current team! It took my old man 2 years + to get to that stage but it is possible to do and I think the current team can do it." Kimbers, without wanting to take away the achievement of making Lotus actually turn a profit, it wasn't enough, unless you don't consider it important to be able to generate enough cash to fund significant investment in future models that would drive growth. Building Eliges didn't work and won't work. They can't sell enough of them at enough profit-per-car to generate enough capital to invest in tomorrow's vehicles. We know this because they've been trying to do it for decades now. It hasn't worked. There was no mention of the future of Lotus in the article because there is no story there. They do not have the investment they need to make the future, only to try to stabilise the business of stabilising the sale of the current line-up, and IF they turn a profit, it's going to be few million a year at best - 15? - a tiny fraction of what they need to earn in profit to be in the business of designing the future. So what now? Someone is going to have to stump up a seriously eye-watering amount of capital to turn Lotus into a car company that can fund its own future, and that will take substantial volume AND profit-per-vehicle changes. If I really thought Lotus could flourish by following the failed business model of the past, believe me I'd be cheering from the rafters. I really want them to survive the next decade!
  10. "But whatever they make they need to find a way to get it noticed and driven. If Alfa just came out with the Exige V6 Roadster or Porsche made a 345bhp, 1170kg Boxster they would be queuing round the block...." Really? The boxster's unladen weight is just over 1300kg - 300kg less than the lightest Jaguar F type (as a comparison). And Porsche already sell loads of Boxsters, in part because of the particular blend of practicality and agility they offer - it's possibly one of the most practical 'single car' roadster propositions on the market. If there was a way to significantly reduce the weight without damaging its per-unit profitability and practical appeal to the market it serves, they would do it.There's no magic formula here - just a series of compromises that need juggling by a company with a clear understanding of the market. If you're right, then there are a large number of people out there who reject the boxster because it weighs 10% more than they think it ought. Who are these people? Lotus struggles to address the needs of the market because its cars are in the main designed for people who: a) have the funds and space to run and store two cars and b) desire the second car to be one which is more track-focused at the expense of practicality. There aren't that many of these people about, and for those people, there are a wide variety of specialist track-focused alternatives - Caterhams, arials, Nobles... the list goes on. Lotus is one of the most significant of these manufacturers, but they're a big fish in a small pond. This is the simple reason why the Elige hasn't and never will find a high volume market. The Evora is the only exception in the current line-up, but struggles to make an impact in a crowded sector of the luxury car market even in territories where there is awareness of it. New products like the F-type have far more traction in this space than the Evora, and weight isn't the issue, as the lardy f-type proves beyond doubt.
  11. I'd like to see a graph of Lotus output over the last 30 years, perhaps broken down into territory. Does anyone have that?
  12. "Also, the speed of the change/usefulness seems to only apply to Expensive sports cars. Has anyone out there ever tried the similar boxes on family cars and diesels? They are truly horrible, slow everything down and leave you standing in the middle of roundabouts!" Our daily car is a dual clutch golf, and a friend of ours has one too (we've got the one that handles more power and is 'wet' and the friend has one of the lower-power-handling 'dry' boxes) .Both cars are pretty seamless - ours is about 6 years old now - but there are stories of horror about ex-warranty repair costs when they do wrong (and there's more *to* go wrong). It's been bloody brilliant, if I'm honest, which is a bit of a shame cos I'd be hard-pushed to ever use a manual in an ordinary car ever again, and there's a 1-2 grand premium for such luxuries! If I bought a Lotus tomorrow, I'm not sure what I'd go for. I'd certainly try both, but by all accounts the Evora's manual gearchange is far superior to my old Elise's (which was utter shite, even when working at all).
  13. If you didn't see it, this article was quite a good read, mainly because they approached a variety of manufacturers to find out if it was just customer demand... See what you think...
  14. What a depressing thread. Ride and drive safely boys and girls!
  15. On further reading I was quite surprised to read that CVT is making a come-back: Especially interesting was the chance they might be combined with motors in electric cars... which at first sight seems an unnecessary thing to do... Also - I'm not sure reliability matters too much in F1 - as long as it lasts as long as normal gearboxes and engines (which don't last that long at all for F1 at least) Finally, I should have offered to pits acceptance that when (s)he said that F1 wanted to do away with gears, CVT is that! (Well I'm not sure if all the gear would go, but the need for a choice of gear-implemented ratios would... Sorry for dragging the thread to CVT. Merry Christmas!
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