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TLF Interview Lotus Managing Director Matt Windle


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  • Bibs pinned this topic

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Excellent interview, Bibs! Thanks for producing it, but of course, your cherry on top was the Emira sneak peek! There's no question that Matt "gets" Lotus. They are in better hands than I've felt in a long time.

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Remains to be seen what they do with 'The Other Sports Car' tagline, let's hope it's brilliant, gets talked about and shared all over social media. But doesn't sound like particularly smart or interesting positioning as yet. Never cared much for the Evora's 'character in a faceless world' either, sold a very innovative car short. To neutrals it suggests quirky and idiosyncratic, common excuses for patchy build and lack of development budget  - all things Lotus really needed to get past with the Evora. 'The Other Sports Car' doesn't tell you anything about the car itself and won't help shift the perception of Lotus as the alternative, left-field, odd ball choice. I know that few people care about the marketing guff that surrounds a launch but when more people need to be persuaded into a Lotus, these campaigns are expensive they should be used to plant seeds, amplify desire, carry some positive information, something memorable and unique to the Emira. My guess is they're hoping 'The Other Car' will be a conversation starter of some kind. If it works, it works. We will see soon enough.

in any event I won't hold it against Matt Windle though, he's not a marketing guy and having had one in charge of Lotus before I'm very glad he's an engineer and proper car guy.

US sales were definitely better than expected given the new car is iminent and the US has out performed everywhere else recently for Evora sales. I think that's fair enough.

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5 hours ago, MPx said:

Enjoyed that.  Great interview Bibbo, and totally agreed that Matt W came across very well.  But still some disquiet from me.  

There was a very good question which started with a statement about just how good Evora is and was received by the press/etc yet didn't result in mega sales.  How will Emira be different...?

My hearing of the answer was "we've made the car better with a wider appeal".   I'm confident that that will be the case but to me suggests that they haven't yet recognised the problem.  Its not that Evora wasn't good enough, it was that very few people knew about it to consider it.  Other than us fanboys/girls most people don't know what a Lotus is and a worrying number of those that think they do are still in the loads of trouble kit car mindset.  Hard to understand how a fifty year old mindset still pervades amongst the under fifties, but its there.  The bit still missing to me is primarily the marketing and then dealers/aftersales.  I've seen the shop pop up proposals etc so at least awareness may improve once they get going...but a strong and widespread (Worldwide!) dealer network is needed and there's still much to do in that space.  The retort from Matt about seeing the best sales in the US recently suggests at best an overly positive spin on dire numbers and at worst head, sand and burying.

My three point plan:

Brand awareness has to be increased through marketing.

Vastly increased dealer network.

Decent leasing options.

 

I’ve seen a few comments of having a single car in Volvo dealerships. Whilst this would increase the network a single car tucked away in a corner isn’t a good approach in my view. 
 

Lotus are going upmarket. People expect a more professional approach.

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A telling point in the interview was Matt's reaction to hot laps in the Emira prototype: his reaction was that he wished his stint wasn't up and he just wanted to keep driving it. That is the essence of a Lotus to me.  As to US Evora sales, it's hard to know if they're reflective of renewed demand or discounting of remaining inventory improving access to the masses. The 400 has gotten some good social media "press" the last couple of years, though. Rightfully so, but the dealership network remains threadbare with a few large players and limited access to most.

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