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Everything posted by chandrew

  1. Brown is quite popular here in Switzerland at the moment. My guess is that about 1/10th of all Porsche 911s (991) are in that colour. Less so on Boxsters and Caymans but certainly on the non-sports cars. Quite a few of the dealers have ordered their cars up in brown. The colour that seems 'up-and-coming' at least from my recent trip to the Geneva motor show is red, especially something between red and burgundy. Mazda had all their cars on the stand in that colour. When I'm back in the UK I always notice how many different colour cars are on the road. Here it's grey / black / white and thoroughly depressing. I have a soft spot for green.
  2. Switzerland figures for 2013 Elise 18 Evora 24 Exige 37. For an overview of the market I produced these visualisations last year: Market overall 2006-2012 By brand (preselected to Peugeot)
  3. Phil, pretty much all the cars you mention are old only in name. I would imagine a new Range Rover, Boxster, 911 shares about 10% or less from the same named model even 5 years ago. You can't say that with an Elise. For a car company a large (majority?) or new car buyers will be upgrading from an earlier model of the same brand / car. There is nothing in the S that would convince me to upgrade from the SC I ordered in 2009. Sure the engine is different (though is it better - it certainly doesn't rev to 8000 like mine does) and I'd get a different light cluster but fundamentally it's the same car. If I had bought a Boxster or 911 then Porsche would now be able to offer cars which are fundamentally differently. It would have been the same with an Exige. If you look at sales figures for cars, especially sports cars, they sell well for the first 24-36 months then sales trail off significantly. Porsche are really smart - they do body improvements at the beginning of a model range then make significant mechanical changes mid cycle effectively giving 2 different sales cycles in one. Special editions rarely make much impact on sales figures. Lotus need a new Elise. When Lotus launched the Elise it was completely different to the competition. Nowadays the rest have, to some degree, caught up. A Boxster isn't that much less involving than an Elise, however you could jump in and drive 200 motorway miles in one and get out feeling fresh. Do that in an Elise and you'll feel beaten up. The world has moved on.
  4. Ah, my stomping ground and the very reason why I'm in an Elise. I can't think of a better car for those roads, regardless of price. OK, the Exige Roadster would be worth a go. The Grimsel has got some good bits. You're right on it being better for a faster car - there are some great more open bits but you always have to be careful of speed checks in these (as on all Swiss passes). The Grimsel Hospiz is one of the best places to stop for a cake stop on a drive, hence why you'll rarely be the only sportscar / supercar in the car park. Best pass IMHO is the Nufenen (though care is needed - a 997 driver went over the edge a year or so ago during an overtake). The Lukmania also is worth doing. Both are much less crowded. Photos of a drive last year on said roads All passes are best done at sunrise or early evening when the tourists have left.
  5. OK, so I'm paying at least 250% of those prices (+ all the other bits that go wrong). I'll see if I can find an Indy (know any in Switzerland / Germany south of Stuttgart?) It's also 3-4 hours round trip (for dropping off and picking up) to get it to the current dealer. Unfortunately it looks like it's going to be taken off the road until spring 2014 in the coming week(s) as my diary is looking full until the passes close again in the autumn. 2 drives between services was not what I was hoping for.
  6. I've been following the book with my Elise SC having full services every year even though I guess my average mileage is about 3000 miles per year. At main dealer it's not cheap - certainly my Porsche friends are paying less (because their service is only every other year). Given it's out of warranty what is a pragmatic approach? I don't mind paying the money if it's going to be cheaper / better for the car in the long run, but neither do I want to throw money down the drain. Are there some items that are definitely worth doing on an annual basis, others where a check is needed but others which are probably OK to do every other year? There is a decent chance I might keep the car indefinitely so I care about long-term approaches.
  7. I got to sit in one in Geneva this year. It's not at all likely to tempt me out of the Elise but on paper the numbers between it and my SC are pretty close to identical. Of course it's missing a proper gearbox. What surprised me was the lack of perceived quality improvement over the Elise. Maybe it was similar to the Tesla but it felt like the product of a mass-market producer, cheap feeling plastic switches and all. It would be night and day going between it and a modern Boxster / Cayman.
  8. They've built their national sales centre in Winterthur which is a stone's throw from us. I expect them to sell like hot cakes here. I see more of the roadsters on the road than I do elises / exiges. I think CH, NL and Norway are the big markets for Tesla in Europe. We don't get subsidies on electric cars and tax is canton dependent. Here in Zurich we won't pay road tax which is something like CHF600 a year for the Lotus from memory. I worked out the cost of 'fuelling' if done at night on our premium, renewables-only electricity contract was about CHF17. Our usual family car costs about CHF90-100 to fill (it needs 98RON and drinks it at an astonishing rate for a small, lightish car). Map of self-reported orders here.
  9. Is the Model S really in the same class? Size-wise it's about the same as a 5 series or A6 and here at least priced at the same level as the most expensive models of those cars (I guess there is some overlap). In Switzerland the official import stats puts the Panamera in the same class as the S, A8 etc and it outsells everything else in the market. Anyway, I think it's fab and when I look at the trips that I do I'm probably only talking 5-10 a year for which it'd struggle. Most of those are through Germany to the NL but if there was a fast charging at Karlsruhe sort of area I might be able to do that with some planning and a coffee stop. The guys in the Zurich dealership keep trying to get my family out in one but I know it would be a slippery slope.
  10. I have the same problem Phil, all my clients want to keep things hush-hush. In terms of the name, it will be the name as well as the logo which is trademarked. Hypothetically of course, I would imagine they're a nice client to have.
  11. I would have thought that was standard. You'd be using their IP without their permission otherwise - the law is pretty robust in this area.
  12. Günter, I guess in Germany you'd be OK if it was something like the Merc SLS electric drive - is it just the German press who are suspicious of any non-German car?
  13. I'm not sure that's entirely right. Last time I had a chat to the folk in my local Tesla centre they still had a few left in the european distribution network. If you look at a Model S it feels a big step forward from where the Roadster was. Maybe this one will feel a big step on from the Roadster but I'm not holding hope. If you look at the markets like here in Switzerland which have been big buyers of Teslas they all have relatively low speed limits on country roads (here 80kmh, NL 80kmh etc) For the type of roads we drive on it's acceleration not top speed which counts.
  14. Do we need it to be quicker and have gears? I'm not sure how this moves the world on. If I was looking for this type of car I think I'd be more tempted with a Tesla as it seems like the firm has a very good chance of being here in a few years time. Don't get me wrong, I'm as glad as anyone that Lotus is getting more work but think it would have been better done as an electric Evora.
  15. Apart from having 4 doors the Aston fits your GT description pretty well. I (188cm) can fit in the back with another me in the front but I wouldn't want to for too long a drive. It's not a Panamera in that respect. Aston raced the Rapide with only minor changes (mostly safety) and it did pretty well. Road & Track lapped a standard car for 24 hours with impressive results. I wouldn't think many of the other 4 door coupes would stand up well to that sort of use. But, and I think this is a big but, I don't think if you were serious about taking a car on a track you'd think of buying most GTs. The cost of consumables would be hard to stomach and I bet you'd have more fun in something like an old elise. I have a good friend with a S1 exige for short tracks and until recently a GT3RS for taking to the ring. Both of these cars are designed for this type of environment. Can you track a GT? Yes, of course you can. Would you want to? Probably not if you're serious about track driving.
  16. Günter, I understand where you're coming from and for something for a sunday morning blast in the mountains or on a track I'd agree with you, but for a GT I'm not convinced that weight is such an important factor. The Nissan GTR seems to handle its weight pretty well and several of the V12 Ferraris aren't that much heavier (FF is within 60kg or so). It's not just computers - suspension technology has evolved a lot in the last 10 years and with a family in tow I get too much grief doing anything other than making smooth, rapid progress. Wilhelm, the Rapide has lots more space than a DB9. If you've ever seen a Ferrari 612 or FF or the Maserati Granturismo S then internal packaging-wise it's about the same - somewhere between a Golf and a 3 series. Decent enough though I give you poor for a car just over 5m long. Have a look at this video from Evo - it's pretty fair though I came to the opposite conclusion, partly I guess because lifting & strapping a small child into the rear of a Maser was hard work and I missed the steering / control feel. We just didn't fit in an Evora, nor a 911. I'm just a bit taller than you and my wife has the same leg length as I do (we never change seat positions). We now have 2 children. We're looking for something that can take us comfortably from Zurich to Maastricht to see the inlaws or down to the med for the weekend. Of course that route down to Italy will be over some passes. Don't get me wrong - I adore the Evora but it would really only be a 2 seater for MPP and in that instance I'd always prefer something more focused like the Elise (I sometimes think I should have got a 2-11 because the Elise is too much of a compromise for the sunday run on the passes or in the Black Forest.) Anyway, this is all a little bit of a diversion. My point was that Lotus seems to have flipped from one extreme to another and even as someone who has lusted after them since I was in shorts I'm losing hope. Fundamentally I think that the Bahar diagnosis was right but neither he, nor Proton nor DRB were the right folks to execute on that vision.
  17. Günter, I'm presuming that you haven't driven a Rapide. The Audi, Merc etc are all based saloon cars and their driving characteristics seem inherited from the cars they're based on. The Rapide is based on a DB9 / DBS and that's where its driving characteristics are derived. It's nowhere like as sporting as my Elise (what is?) but it's much more sporting than something like the Maserati Granturismo S which only has 2 doors. All the packaging compromises that it has derive from the fact it has a platform evolved from the Lotus-designed one used in the original Vanquish. I'll give you that it's heavy (but that doesn't make it an outlier these days) and it's certainly a GT like the cars it's based on but I really don't (after having significant time in both) think it's much off a non-GT badged modern 911. Of course the Porsche can't compete with a naturally aspirated V12 though the old GT3 engine is very special. I too was sceptical before I drove one and thought I'd be much better off in a DBS / DB9 but there is very little difference in the way it drives and it offers proper rear seats for children (unlike pretty much everything except the Ferrari / Maseratis).
  18. Wilhelm / Günter, I have no problem with a 2+2, in fact I'm kind of in the market for one - I've let it be known elsewhere here that I'm just picking the right time / opportunity to step into an Aston Martin Rapide which I see as a sports car with extra rear seats. I think the Ferrari FF / 612 and Maserati Granturismo are the other two cars that fit this model though the 991 is pretty close. For me the problem is that few other 2+2s really meet the need if the two parents are both >180cm, in my instance closer to 190cm. I adore the way the Evora drives but I think the old team who developed the concept didn't understand marketing / market needs. Much of the early press was about the uniqueness of the 2+2 mid engined layout. This is like the IT industry shouting about technical specs. As is now clear most buyers don't think this way - they want something that meets their needs. If the primary objective is decent rear seats build something with great rear seats. Just like shouting about processor speeds, most buyers don't care (IMHO) about engine location - they want the benefits that a mid-engine provides, not the fact it's mid-engined.
  19. I think we went from an organization / leadership which didn't understand marketing (and I use that in the widest sense, to include aspects such as product management, market research etc) to one that only seemed to understand marketing. Bahar would have understood what the supercar buyer wanted from his time in Ferrari. I suspect he had masses of data showing that nobody wanted a mid-engined 2+2 (which is probably why the Mondial didn't have a successor). I think he seemed a good marketing / product guy but he should never have been a CEO. Much of the blame must go to Proton who didn't bring in the execution expertise. Let's face it, we can see from Proton's lack of success that they can't even run their own shop well, which is why the government forced them into the hands of DRB. The old team did get product out, but it was product that few wanted to buy. Sales targets aren't the same as actual sales and the Evora wasn't hitting the mark even at the beginning when sales are usually the highest. The quality level wasn't up to the level which buyers demand and as Jaguar has shown, the only way to counter a historical reputation for poor quality is to be better than your competition. Still takes time though. At the moment I just don't see how Lotus will be sustainable as a car company without a big global partner who also understands selling to consumers. They need someone who can bring not only resources but a proper distribution channel. Proton were never this partner - they didn't have the resources or expertise.
  20. I got to sit in the new Alfa. I wasn't that impressed honestly. They have obviously used the Elise as a benchmark as almost all the numbers are pretty much exactly the same as my SC and the price here in Switzerland is pretty much identical. But it felt like it came from a company who mostly build small hatches. There are some nice design touches but it didn't feel that special and the interior didn't feel solid. It would have to drive pretty well to convince many folks to get one over a Cayman. Crucially it's no worse than an Elise, but I didn't feel it was much better either (apart from getting in / out.)
  21. I drove the Granturismo in S spec last year. I cut the test drive short and left very disappointed. It just felt big, heavy and (after driving a Rapide) not very sporty. Looks are beaten by the sound though. As an object it's fantastic but it wasn't for me.
  22. In many ways I'd like the new approach was to replace the current models in the same markets but it doesn't fill me with much hope. I managed to have a nose around a new Boxster a few months ago whilst killing some time in a Porsche dealer whilst they brought up my mate's RS and the difference in quality between it and any Lotus product is night-and-day. Now Alfa (with the might of Fiat) coming in the market with the 4C. These sort of guys can use economies of scale in a way that Lotus never can. I love the Evora as much as the next guy and when I wanted a good drive would pick it over any non-GT Porsche but I know the Porsche will be a lot easier to live with. For a sunday drive they have a chance. The Exige S is for me the most tempting car they make. I realistically think they can own the sunday drive / take to a track enthusiast market (as my car is). Outside that?
  23. As mentioned Audi R8 and 911 are the obvious choices. Both can be had for relatively little money compared to the original prices and the Audi especially should be simple to run. As someone mentioned the big issues can be servicing and maintenance. Of course the other is depreciation and because so many were sold in the last 10 years there are a lot of cars coming to market where few people can justify the running costs. The car that seems to be dropping quite a lot here that should put it into this category in the next few years is the SLS. Really great noise. I really didn't get on with the 911 turbo. It's just a bit dull when you get over the stunning acceleration. A GT3 is a totally different story and I've been in normal Audis with less compliant suspension than a 997 GT3RS. Only big problem is speed bumps and the front splitter. I think a fast GT makes the most sense for a daily driver, but then I'm starting to think you either go GT or something really stripped out like the Exige S or even 211 for taking out just on a sunny sunday morning.
  24. Don't feel bad about it being a reflection of your German - the article was in Dutch.
  25. I'm expecting to go (but can't wait to hear what the surprise is.) Managed to get an invite off another sportscar firm & my mate who I'll be visiting with has managed most of the other big / closed stands. Not sure which day yet as work-related travel is 'fluid' at the moment to say the least. Pity that Lotus won't be there. Got an email from a Morgan contact who said they're increasing their stand size.
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