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Lotus in the post DB era


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If the facelift is what it is... a facelift, Lotus should not change then name! Evora should remain Evora it's been on the market for 3 years and should remain on the market for at least another 3 years. Changing the name would just add to the confusion, imo!

Lotus should focus on Elise, the car needs to become slightly more mainstream and be set to go head to head with Boxster, 4C and even F-Type. It cannot be that much of a stretch to develop it, essentially, a smaller Evora tub with a smaller engine but the same level of creature comfort that people find in the current Evora.

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Guest surferphil

That's not what the Elise is about and never has been. It's a modern day 7.

Elan name left well alone.

Design a car and build it. Mix and match is just Child's play. Going after a well catered market is pointless.

Lotus do what they have always done in their best days but now to industry topping standards and expectations, nothing else is worthy of the Lotus badge.

They need to move forward...

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Elise is in no way a modern seven IMHO, not even the more spartan Thomson styled model; Caterham is the modern seven, and for heavily compromised "on road" driving and excellent track capability it is probably still unbeaten.

Elise sits above the MX5 IMHO as a modern sportscar. I think the compromise of the heavy sill has been with the car too long (and probably a throw back to initial "step through" design) The initial pram roof was so good Porsche copied it, Boxter Spyder is where Elise should be. It is a fun car that at the moment precludes so many potential owners because of the difficulty of egress.

When a young lady in a short skirt and heels can get out the passenger (or driver) seat with her dignity intact (and the roof on), then Lotus will have the design right. All they have to do is maintain the rest of the package - the Show model Exige Roadster shows how good the trim shop can be, so quality and looks are there; as a "young bucks" car it fails miserably as you both crawl out the car with the valet parkers laughing at you

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I'm not convinced that the Porsche's roof is really designed to be put on and off much. I'd imagine it makes most sense as a weekend car that you only take out if you know it's going to be sunny, which is probably how most Elises are used around here. By nature this makes it a much smaller market.

The Evora is a great car let down by poor initial quality. Given Lotus's reputation it needed to be built at least as well as the German cars from the outset and it wasn't. In many people's eyes it seems tainted goods these days.

I hope that they don't kill the designs for the new Elise completely. The current car feels like it's a bit long-in-the-tooth.

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Guest surferphil

Simon,

The Elise was designed as a modern 7 that was Lotus' intention. The doors were an afterthought they had to add to get it through type approval and the roof was a 'just in case it rains' extra, it was never intended as an every day car.

Caterham is just an old 7 with new bits.

You should watch 'Lotus Elise - The Inside Story' (send me a pm if you don't have it).

Porshe boxter is where the Elan M100 was 22 years ago. Only with inferior engineering and superior quality finish. The Elise replaced the Elan as a back to basics weekend toy. The Boxter is a commuter and entry level model into the Porsche brand for aspiring 911 owners.

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I believe that becoming more mainstream doesn't mean selling out completely.

If adding some creature comfort : lower sills to facilitate ingress & egress, a glovebox, an A/C that works, a bit more carpeting, modern tech... is considered selling out... Then ok! I just think that adding these things will get the Elise a wider appeal. And it should be built using the VVA platform so that one doesn't have to get a brand new one after a crash.

Let's not fool ourselves the elise is compared to the boxster and it will be compared to the Alfa 4C. Even though it's being marketed differently part of the customer base for the elise is the same as the boxster...

If one want a Lotus 7 heritage, today one has other options like the KTM X-BOW ...

When I saw what DB wanted the next elise to be, I agreed with it. It was still an elise just a grown up version of it that could accommodate more people. The only thing the elise should remain (imo) is a sub 2.0 liter base engine that should pack some oomph and a weight contained to around (or under) 1000kg.

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If adding some creature comfort : lower sills to facilitate ingress & egress, a glovebox, an A/C that works, a bit more carpeting, modern tech... is considered selling out... Then ok!

Sounds like the S1 to S2 transition and I recall the outcry from the purists at the time. I'd be all for an S3 with a wider appeal, a sort of mini Evora level car perhaps?

Having an affair with another marque... B-)

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It was called a Europa and it didn't sell. Sure it had issues until the old man took over and sorted it but it was a great car after they sorted it. Still didn't sell.

The Market for Lotus at the cheaper end is where it is, raw awesome fun at a good price. Start softening it up you lose the raw edge, and it will cost more. Its then very difficult to compete with Lotus's cost base as the likes of Porsche make hundreds of thousands so their costs are lower which equates to a cheaper production cost and selling cost.

you can always improve it sure, even Porsche make constant improvements, but I just don't see what you are talking about making an impact right now.

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A Lotus is currently losing money on every Elise built they wil have to up the price considerably - or find a partner to build it for them (DRB?).

Focus has to be to get the Evora selling and then get Esprit out.

If you have the choice between a Stairway to Heaven and a Highway to Hell don't forget the Nomex®!

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Agreed. But the Elise is essential to help people step up to the bigger more profitable cars as they get older and have more money.

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I don't think any car company can economically produce a product long term as a loss leader to bring people into their brand. The Elise hasn't made Lotus a net profit over it's lifetime, they're not a big or wealthy enough company to maintain this and as we know, in the Elise's lifetime Lotus have lost £200m, it can't carry on.

People will progress from other cars into bigger Lotus cars, Lotus can't afford to to get them hooked for free.

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You should watch 'Lotus Elise - The Inside Story' (send me a pm if you don't have it).

...you could find it very easy on "You tube" "lotus elise inside story" very interesting piece......esp concerning the concept as mentioned by surferphfil, also the ideas towards the ducati-motocycles were quite interesting!

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The build up for the Europa did not help, the design was to be a Proton, and it seemed little more than a VX in a pretty dress. Dont believe it would pass the "getting out with dignity" test either

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Anyone have the stats on which valet parking venues draw the most Elise's? I'd like to volunteer as a "getting out with dignity" industry researcher. :)

Being second is to be the first of the ones who lose.

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It was called a Europa and it didn't sell. Sure it had issues until the old man took over and sorted it but it was a great car after they sorted it. Still didn't sell.

The Market for Lotus at the cheaper end is where it is, raw awesome fun at a good price. Start softening it up you lose the raw edge, and it will cost more. Its then very difficult to compete with Lotus's cost base as the likes of Porsche make hundreds of thousands so their costs are lower which equates to a cheaper production cost and selling cost.

you can always improve it sure, even Porsche make constant improvements, but I just don't see what you are talking about making an impact right now.

I sort of agree the Europa was supposed to be an Elise grown up but the truth is it just wasn't! And because I love an underdog I love the car! But it was a botched up job that looked totally unfinished! It was not that much easier to use and in terms of performance you were losing a bit (compared to Exige). People wanted more and got about the same. Then they did not even try to sell the car it was dubbed the Proton reject that Lotus had to make do with until Evora got around!

Elise 2015 intent prototype was supposed to share most of its organs with Evora/Elan and Esprit. Well I think today's Elise should share much more with today's Evora. They can't make the current Elise into a profitable product cause they have to get parts that they cannot buy in high enough numbers and generate economies of scale ! However I do think that by sharing as much as can be shared with with Evora and maybe one day Esprit then they could make a car that doesn't cost more than it returns! Sharing all the underpining, most of the dashboard and cabin fitting...

That was DB's initial plan - before he got drunk with the glam and power and high as kite!

Lotus cannot maintain to distinct architecture much longer all cars have to be VVA based Lotus also has to bring the cost down on Evora. Well if Evora and Elise were sharing more parts they could do just that. Then the other problem of Elise is that it's not even sold on its number one market right now...sigh!

Edited by NedaSay
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Guest surferphil

You say lotus needs to bring costs down for the Elise but then you say they need to rebuild the car with an entirely different platform.

Have you any idea how much that will cost?

The Elise is what it is and should stay as it is but it's not enough to keep a company afloat alone.

If there is a market crying out for a roadster like the Elan then that's great but it has nothing to do with the Elise.

The Elise is a track/road car just like the 7 was and has been copied as the Xbow Atom Etc regardless of what unhelpful journalists compare the Elise to, it is not designed for the same market as any Porsche etc.

Forget DBs plan.

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No, Lotus doesn't need to bring the Evora cost down, they need to get the price up! Nobody is looking for a cheaper Evora, and just a better one.

Secondly, the Elise doesn't work as an entry level car because no Elise owner bought it as a primary car. They all already had that upscale car before they bought the Elise.

If you have the choice between a Stairway to Heaven and a Highway to Hell don't forget the Nomex®!

Captain,  Lotus Airways. We fly lower! 

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Bringing the cost down doesn't mean that the price can't go up! It's about getting bigger margins at the end of the day.

Lotus cannot afford to keep on producing Elise in its current form if it cannot be profitable or at least breakeven!

Edited by NedaSay
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Secondly, the Elise doesn't work as an entry level car because no Elise owner bought it as a primary car. They all already had that upscale car before they bought the Elise.

There are plenty that did. they are a different demographic to this place though and hang out in the playground. Xbow / Atom / 2-11 are the seven "rivals" and are much less useable than an Elise (Put a windscreen on a 2-11, and I would have seriously considered upgrading though). The Elise platform is too good to really "win" against those no compromise alternatives (and the whole market is too small), so better to play in the proper road car market, which ever since the original Elite and Cortina is where Lotus has been.

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I agree with Thomas on this one. The UK market seems to be very different from the rest of the world. Here (in Switzerland) the Elise is a hard-core weekend toy that you have if you already have something for the rest of the time. I'm not sure the Atom has ever been legal here - Caterham have just lost the right to sell in Switzerland because of safety regulations. The advantage the Elise has over the open cars you mention is that at least you have some protection when you get caught out by an alpine storm.

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Not sure I'd call it a success. Official figures here show that the Tesla outsold the Elise and Exige combined in the first half of this year, and my understanding is that the Tesla isn't in production.

As a comparison, Ferrari sold about 12x as many cars here as Lotus so far this year.

The Elise isn't an entry level car, it's a car chasing a tiny market which from what I can see is only getting smaller.

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