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Lotus in the post DB era


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I think this is a disaster for Lotus. In the next couple of years there will be the Alfa Romeo 4C (with an engine developed by Maserati/Ferrari), a new MX5 which will have a high powered lightweight spin off model (that will be much cheaper than the Elise) and the Alpine Renault - Caterham twins which will have F1 heritage, should be lightweight and will also be more practical than Lotus' current line up.

Also look at all the cars above, they are all rumored or confirmed to have been developed as part of a join venture (the Alfa Romeo is rumoured to be twinned with a larger engined Maserati and the MX5 with the next new Alfa Spider).

Lotus needs to put in place a joint venture fast. Kia or Ford seem like good options to me. Otherwise the only way forward will be to ditch the smaller cars and focus on the Esprit and very closely linked models at 6 figure prices (like McLaren) or dedicated hardcore track day cars (like Ariel) that sell in tiny numbers. Otherwise its curtains for Lotus cars.

I supported the Bahar plan intially but I now wish that Tony Fenandes had bought Lotus after all. Unfortunately it now seems like wishful thinking.....

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Just thinking, maybe we should close this thread and start a new one "Lotus in the JMG era" - in the hope that it will be a long and prosperous one.

Good hair but that last sentence earns him a kick in the balls next time I see him, what a knob.   http://www.sapu.net/want-a-e1m-car-like-nothing-else-on-the-road-dany-bahars-your-man/  

Yup, and it would be niggle free from lessons learnt from 5 years of Evora. Offer different engines/transmission packages... 1.6-1.8 turbo 3.5 Supercharged from Evora/Exige How can something th

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It's a real blow for Lotus, but more than that it shows something is really wrong there. When a company like Caterham get a deal like that with no experience whatsoever in that area it's shocking, not to mention they're set to become the favoured F1 team for Renualt too. Another coup stolen from under Lotus's nose.

I can accept it makes perfect sense for Caterham and it's an amazing deal for them but a huge risk for Renault, turning their back on a proven specialist for a company that can only provide promises this stage. Either Lotus have something else up their sleeve and didn't chase the deal that hard or the $hit is about to hit the fan. Who knows, perhaps the sale is already a done deal and the company's being kept on ice, with zero 'unnecessary' expenditure, until the deal can be made public. Wasn't there a 12 month 'No sell' clause in the Proton sale?

I'd love to have seen someone with the enthusiasm of TF buy into Lotus but that deal went south in a hale of law suits. Tragic to say the very least, i hope there's a silver lining somewhere inside this dark cloud.

Edited by Stirling_Villeneuve

Currently having an illicit affair with another marque, be back in the fold one day... B-)

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I wouldn't be too eager to jump to conclusions on the truth or not of the article. No quoted sources, everyone giving the 'no-comment'.

If I was Renault and I wanted to negotiate a good deal with DRB / Lotus on design and build what better way than 'leaking' that they were close to a deal with Caterham.

It doesn't seem to make much sense to do one project with Lotus and one with Caterham. You'd want to share parts / technologies across projects. Also, who has the capacity and experience to build such a car. Caterham, who don't even build all their cars, or DRB who build them for several big manufacturers already?

Anyway, it seems likely to these eyes that there's no deal done quite yet.

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Funny I was just chatting to a chap about the F Type, he sent me the configuration so I specced one up.... £90k.... and it's still 400 kilos heavier than the Evora. I don't get that total rip of the Maserati 'mouth' too... isn't that copyright?

What are you on about SV? Has the DB circus withdrawal set in, Jag had it 50 years ago on a 1961 E Type and Bertone has been copying it eversince he became obsessed by the E Type design, Jaguar used it through the XJ series in the 80's/90's and ford Borrowed it for the X Type, Bertone has been copying it for the last 10 years, hang you head with shame!

FType should be a lot faster than an Evora and a hell of a lot prettier and refined your spec is with the V8 Supercharged engine. The 3L V6 starts at £58k which is Evora money, but with beauty and refinement the Evora lacks.

Gus,

When were Alpha or Mazda ever a threat or better than lotus?

I would not get to worried about Renault, it's not like they are doing well or would be a great partner for Lotus, rolling out the the Alpine looks like a measure to boost brand appeal and they would have probably tried to buy tech in from lotus before but could not afford them.

I really don't understand the over inflated praise for Caterham, they have been arround since Colin threw away the 7 and done nothing notable since. Fernades is desperate to make his mark and has failed so far, so probably has put a lot of his own money in. There is no Caterham or Renault F1 Heritage!?

I'd say Lotus and Jaguar would make a brilliant partner ship. Ford would be a disaster and I really don't see what F1 Heritage Caterham or Renault have, its all marketing and branding. You think the Renault factory make the F1 Engine?

Elise Killer! Where? Elise is 20 years old and still has no rival.

Too much doom and gloom here with too little research or knowledge about the subject.

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I wouldn't be too eager to jump to conclusions on the truth or not of the article. No quoted sources, everyone giving the 'no-comment'.

This. The deal hasn't been done, this is just Caterham makes noises from what I've been told.

As a few people have noted, this wouldn't make sense either as Caterham don't have the background to become the ideal partner. Their SP300/R hasn't progressed since it's launch in early 2010 and I think I may have heard it's even been cancelled.

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What are you on about SV? Has the DB circus withdrawal set in, Jag had it 50 years ago on a 1961 E Type and Bertone has been copying it eversince he became obsessed by the E Type design, Jaguar used it through the XJ series in the 80's/90's and ford Borrowed it for the X Type, Bertone has been copying it for the last 10 years, hang you head with shame!

FType should be a lot faster than an Evora and a hell of a lot prettier and refined your spec is with the V8 Supercharged engine. The 3L V6 starts at £58k which is Evora money, but with beauty and refinement the Evora lacks.

Too much doom and gloom here with too little research or knowledge about the subject.

Steady on old chap! According to the specs the supercharged F is similar to an Evora S. For what it's worth that's 4.2 to 60 and 186 top, but Top Trumps type specs don't say anything about the driving experience and let's face it Jaguar are hardly known for their handling. As for looks, I hold fire until I see one in the metal... but beauty is in the eye of the beholder. :smoke:

As for the 'mouth' and possibly a little bit more...

B6E7E03DA29367E314FD5688D5B214.jpgmaserati-grancabrio.jpg

Edited by Stirling_Villeneuve

Currently having an illicit affair with another marque, be back in the fold one day... B-)

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let's face it Jaguar are hardly known for their handling. As for looks, I hold fire until I see one in the metal...

Have you driven a Jaguar recently? I think for the market they're in the handling is superb. I piloted an XF across some very challenging technical roads (negative camber turns on crests) and it was superb. Jaguar engineers obviously subscribe to that Lotus point of view that sporty handling for the road doesn't mean rock-solid. The closest thing I've driven to it are Alpinas, which I much prefer to their BMW cousins. I put it to Alpina's product manager at Geneva that I thought their cars handled more like Jags than BMWs and he didn't disagree.

Now, don't expect Exige level handling and grip but the F type is not that sort of car. I doubt it will get too close to the Evora but will also be less of a compromise to its owners. The benchmark has to be non GT badged Porsche's and I'd be surprised if it's not in the same league.

Of course I'm just speculating based on past experiences.

I can also tell you that that Maserati is a big heavy lump and feels it. Makes a great noise though.

Their SP300/R hasn't progressed since it's launch in early 2010 and I think I may have heard it's even been cancelled.

And the 7 has run out of road in Switzerland. From the beginning of 2013 they've been banned here because they don't meet safety requirements. I hear that Switzerland isn't unique. Just like the Defender is living on borrowed time so, I guess, is the Seven.

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Perhaps bits of the Bahar plan were right, and the 2015 Elise, as a model that would sit above some of these incomers is the way to go. I see nothing wrong with the Paris Elise / Elan / Esprit as a range of cars.

It could be that the Lotus Ali tub is not cutting edge, and people want CF tub for bragging rights, but Lotus did OK taking a chassis technology that was a cost cutting exercise in 1962 all the way through to the early 2000s.

I am not so sure Lotus need these partnerships. Consultancies yes, but not partnerships; unless they drop the Lotus equivalencies. Was it really that good for GM to have a car (VX220) that was not really quite as good as the Lotus equivalent?

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I'd say Lotus and Jaguar would make a brilliant partnership. Ford would be a disaster and I really don't see what F1 Heritage Caterham or Renault have, its all marketing and branding. You think the Renault factory make the F1 Engine?

I agree this would really be the best possible partner for Lotus. JLR would bring a lot of cabin tech, brand engines, one of the best source parts bin a small niche manufacturer could dream of. Lotus would bring their tech. Now would Tata be interested?

At this point in time I don't really know which car maker would be willing to cut a deal for a niche car maker anymore. 10, 20 years ago everybody would have done it. Today is probably a different story. Automakers will want the savoir faire for sure but will they want to buy a company or a brand?! I'm not sure that many of them do except for VW - but these guys wanted to buy everything not so long ago.

No American will do it, Forget about the Europeans (except maybe for BMW and I doubt it). The Japaneses prefer tech deals and special projects joint ventures. the Korean (Hyundai-Kia) could pull it but it's not really in their culture. The Chineses would be the most likely to get a deal done but tech experts expect an industry wide restructuring/consolidating move before they refocus their attention on buying overseas. They acquired - or tried to - the brands that were available (MG, Volvo, failed with Saab). The Indians (read Tata mostly) they own JLR and are doing the heck of a good job giving the company adequate funding and guidance so that the company develops nicely.

What I could see is a fund buying the company as part of a consortium with possibly a big OEM.

Superphil - Actually yes Renault do make the F1 engine, it's not a subcontracted deal with a specialist, I visited the engine factory in Viry-Chatillon, as a kid on a school trip! The factory was opened when Renault first joined F1 in 1976. They used to have a sub contractor called Mecachrome doing them too but the deal was renegotiated a while ago.

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Steady on old chap! According to the specs the supercharged F is similar to an Evora S. For what it's worth that's 4.2 to 60 and 186 top, but Top Trumps type specs don't say anything about the driving experience and let's face it Jaguar are hardly known for their handling. As for looks, I hold fire until I see one in the metal... but beauty is in the eye of the beholder. :smoke:

As for the 'mouth' and possibly a little bit more...

B6E7E03DA29367E314FD5688D5B214.jpgmaserati-grancabrio.jpg

And what part of my post did you not understand? Maserati copied Jaguar, the italians have been coping them for decades.

Next you will be saying Ian Callum copied Aston Martin and Julian Thomson copied Lotus. lol!

Is it not obvious that the F Type is a baby XK with a hint of E type?

Here are some images to help you understand the automotive influences on the F Type:

2010-Arden-Jaguar-XKR-5.0L-Convertible-Front-Side-Picture-588x391.jpg

Jaguar_E-type_serie_III1.jpg

lotus-elise1.jpg

Edited by surferphil
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Gus,

When were Alpha or Mazda ever a threat or better than lotus?

I would not get to worried about Renault, it's not like they are doing well or would be a great partner for Lotus, rolling out the the Alpine looks like a measure to boost brand appeal and they would have probably tried to buy tech in from lotus before but could not afford them.

I really don't understand the over inflated praise for Caterham, they have been arround since Colin threw away the 7 and done nothing notable since. Fernades is desperate to make his mark and has failed so far, so probably has put a lot of his own money in. There is no Caterham or Renault F1 Heritage!?

I'd say Lotus and Jaguar would make a brilliant partner ship. Ford would be a disaster and I really don't see what F1 Heritage Caterham or Renault have, its all marketing and branding. You think the Renault factory make the F1 Engine?

Elise Killer! Where? Elise is 20 years old and still has no rival.

Too much doom and gloom here with too little research or knowledge about the subject.

I can't agree with most of that analysis I'm afraid. Possibly with the exception of Caterham having F1 "heritage" compared to Lotus'. I can't disagree with that!!

However the Renault name is very strong in F1 both as an engine manufacturer and from time to time as a chassis constructor, and Caterham has a strong following for such a young new team. TF is good at attracting talent, ex McLaren/Renault/Force India people. Also I had thought some senior Lotus engineering people had moved to Caterham some time ago. In praising Caterham I'm merely suggesting that Tony Fernandes made promises he was able to keep, Mr Bahar (who I backed at the time) has made big claims and it seems nothing outside of the motor racing sponsorship has happened (and that also wasn't as classy as was promised).

My point about Alfa Romeo and Mazda is they are entering the market (twice in Alfa Romeo's case) with cars that will use a light chassis to achieve high performance and excellent handling. By teaming up they can save money on development costs and offer a more polished product for a lower purchase price. All these companies are likely to have access to a dealer network close to a much larger percentage of the worlds population.

Also don't make the mistake of underestimating these companies based on a few obvious problems they currently have. Renault as a brand is currently quite weak, but combined with the strengthening Dacia and Nissan things don't look so bad. Similarily Fiat and Alfa have their problems but Chrysler, Maserati and Ferrari are doing pretty good.

Trust me a joint deal with Renault or some other company is by far the most convincing way of Lotus remaining in the small, light sportscar market long term, so I hope the Caterham "confirmation" is wrong. If Lotus can't make a business case for keeping the Elise/Exige on sale in the states and is now also apparently struggling with the Evora then they NEED a sizeable change to their strategy.

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Superphil - Actually yes Renault do make the F1 engine, it's not a subcontracted deal with a specialist, I visited the engine factory in Viry-Chatillon, as a kid on a school trip! The factory was opened when Renault first joined F1 in 1976. They used to have a sub contractor called Mecachrome doing them too but the deal was renegotiated a while ago.

Isn't the factory at Viry-Chatillon; Renault sport F1 a subsidiarity company purely making the F1 Engines?

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That's not RenaultSport F1 and seems to have gone off on a tangent from the point I am making about Renault F1 engines and the Renault brand.

Maybe if you wrote something I'd get your point, but I don't.

Gus, that's probably and American point of view? which is quite different here, except Nissan are doing well here.

Not many automotive companies are strong outside JLR, Germany and Japan. We get virtually no american cars in Europe compared to the rest and not much from Italy is worth shouting about.

So I don't agree

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Isn't the factory at Viry-Chatillon; Renault sport F1 a subsidiarity company purely making the F1 Engines?

No, this entity Renault Sport F1 formerly just known as Renault Sport is making the Renault 'RS' engines and you find these in the Megane RS, the CliO RS. The branding is a bit complicated due to the fact That Renault F1 (engine division) was merged with Renault Sport (customer racing division) But they were both operating under the same roof at Viry Chatillon from the very beginning.

It was very to understand until Renault purchased the Benetton F1 team, until then Renaut F1 engine were made by Renault Sport that was easy. But the Renault F1 brand/ Company was created and Renault F1 UK and France assets (Enstone +Viry were gathered under one unique 'corporate umbrella') Then Renault F1 UK (Enstone assets) were sold to Genii but Renault kept the French assets (Viry).

I hope that clears it.

Now I am not saying that you find F1 engine tech in your Clio RS but for all intent and purposes an employee of Renault Sport F1 could work one day a week on the factory floor and the other day at the F1 engine shop. At least that's what we were told back then.

Edited by NedaSay
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Now I am not saying that you find F1 engine tech in your Clio RS but for all intent and purposes an employee of Renault Sport F1 could work one day a week on the factory floor and the other day at the F1 engine shop. At least that's what we were told back then

Very interesting... It seems then that Renault would be a Very good partner to Lotus to develop engines. Since Renault make fugly cars that cant compete with anyone in the market they cant convert their expertise to mass market money makers...

Alas we know not of goings on in the larger scheme of things and why or why not interests align for companies...

If the only thing constant is change, then why do we resist change the most?

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Another bit of not great news in this mornings Autocar. The new Infiniti boss has confirmed that the Evora hybrid based E_merge won't be going ahead. The writing seemed to be on the wall for that one when I read about the projected price and then a couple of days ago that the Lotus range extender engine is still a couple of years away. However I had hoped it might have made it and kept the Hethal production line busy.

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Gus,

Thinks its up to us to buy new Elise/Evora/Exige to keep the production line busy!

We have bought new Lotus cars in the past two years, with third brand new on it's way

Darryl & Sue

Proud to drive and own a true British supercar the Evora GT430

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Unfortunatley for me the Evora is out of my price range, and the current Elise and Exige are a little to hardcore (not to mention the wrath of my other half that I would undoutedly feel for some time if I turned up in a car with so few creature comforts for the money!). I had high hopes for the Elise Concept even if it had ended up being a few thousand more than the price projected at Paris 2010.

Hopefully they'll find some way of launching something for Boxster money and with a similar usability, but without sacrificing all of Lotus' values. A modern day Elan rather than a modern day 7. If they can do that I will literally run straight to my dealer (some distance!) and sign up immediately!!

Edited by Gus82
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As I understood it when Renault pulled out of F1 in the 90's their F1 engine production stopped and when they bought back in more recently the bought an engine manufacturer and re branded it to Renault F1.

I don't generally subscribe to the branding game as I work in the Auto industry with a lot of marketing and advertising material and see it for what it really is, rather than how it is presented to the market, so naturally I'm sceptical.

I don't really think that Lotus need any partner as they have Proton who are a manufacturer and lets be real about Lotus, they can design any aspect of the car, but where they are weakest is in mass production. Switchgear, engines and generic components are expensive to produce in small numbers but mass production does not fit Lotus as a brand or as a company, so Proton makes sense. The problem is management and investment.

The sad fact is that Lotus cars fit in to the category for people who would stretch themselves financially or get a loan to buy a car that's not too practical. If I have to own 2 cars to have a Lotus I may be tempted to by one car that is better than a Lotus and practical enough to be my only car. In a recession practicality and fun rolled into 1 car makes a lot of sense (Porsche have this summed up). Of course there is a greater market appeal but that is why Lotus sells but not in big numbers at the moment.

I don't believe the Esprit would suffer this, as its a more premium super/sports car that would attract a different market; who have plenty of money for a folly. This is why manufacturers have a range of cars to suite all markets, it's like spread betting and that's what Lotus need to do, it's what DB was doing before he got cut short.

Edited by surferphil
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"I don't believe the Esprit would suffer this, as its a more premium super/sports car that would attract a different market; who have plenty of money for a folly. This is why manufacturers have a range of cars to suite all markets, it's like spread betting and that's what Lotus need to do, it's what DB was doing before he got cut short."

Exactly! Exactly! Exactly! DB rushed things out the door initially and lost momentum with the Evora. Lotus was bleeding money like it always does except at a higher rate becuase of all the expansion. He came from Ferrari and believed that the only way to look serious was to spend serious. Except he spent a lot of money on himself as well! Yikes.

The evora can still be a car more people buy. They need to upgrade driveline (paddle shifter that shifts in .0000000001 seconds !) and a few more creature comforts etc...The car is awesome it needs a batter perception of a reliable everyday car as well.

If the only thing constant is change, then why do we resist change the most?

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Yes DB spent too much on pomp and not enough on Product but the Evora was already done and out. I think the Evora needs an S2 with every flaw and criticism addressed; aesthetics, engineering and comfort.

I feel the current range is good should the esprit meet expectations, but the 211 should be more obviously available. I like the Exige V6 very much but cant help thinking a lighter V6 engine would be better still, hope the follow through with the V8 and derive a V6 and I4 from it. That would give a great asset to the brand.

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