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Lotus in the post DB era


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As far as trying to take Lotus forward and improving its image, yes he has been treated unfairly.  As far as everything else, he deserves the panning he got..

 

I remember interviews around that time saying that the 5 car project was "fully funded", money wasn't an issue etc. which we now know to be completely untrue.

 

All the cynics were proved right in the end, despite a great start to things.

Edited by Nelly9000
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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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At least DB led from the front, people knew what he wanted for the brand and he created a lot of excitement. He had a lot of passion too, real drive, whether that for a love of the marque or just a personal desire to succeed I've no idea, but there's no sign of any of those qualities at Lotus these days. 

Edited by Stirling_Villeneuve

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

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Uncle Dany's plans weren't given the timeframe to come to fruition. I don't think anyone expected the whole lot to be delivered on time (or at all), but one or two of the products could have screamed sideways out of the gates in one form or another.

Although the money wasn't physically in the bank account, the promise of it was, but the rug was pulled before he could divert enough to production and away from his helicopter/new kitchen fund. (Personally I wouldn't have begrudged the bloke a couple of million skimmed from the budget if the Esprit and Elan had become reality.)

 

We're now left with a product line up which, although is critically acclaimed, isn't setting any sales records despite the resurgence of perceived improved quality and the subsequent increased overseas market. It's doing "OK" and figures are respectable and I'm pleased about that, but none are much more than an enthusiast's purchase - which is fine and very worthy, but it's not the best way to create a sales fervour.

 

Anyone remember when there was a two year waiting list for a new Elise and used ones were going for over list? Obviously production conditions were hugely different then, but the clamour to get one of these fantastic new cars had a knock-on effect throughout the sales arena. Aftermarket companies sprung up overnight, Lotus showrooms were busy during the week and packed on a Saturday, Elans became popular and even the venerable Esprit had enough renewed interest to kick start a couple of factory make overs.

 

Someone with a bigger vision than me needs to come up with a solution to revisit that type of public interest.

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What bugs me out, apart from the general lack of passion or overall presence of Lotus' current owners, is that it feels as if the company has become someone's "business challenge" - simply to see if they can, at any cost, turn the Lotus into a profitable enterprise, at the lowest possible outlay - with innovation and brand perception among other qualities left by the wayside in the process.

 

DB came out and pitched a future, maybe under fraudulent circumstances, but there was a plan. What we have today is, as many have pointed out, 3 critically acclaimed vehicle lines, but they are lacking that special "something" and there is a huge hole in the product line as a result.

 

The Elise started off as an affordable hot-hatch with world class handling that was as confident on track as off - given the prices of a 2013 Elise S the "affordable" part seems to have gone out the window. Sure it's much more powerful than the old S1 and S2 series cars, but are people really clamouring to buy a £36,000 (£55,000 with options in LHD config) hot hatch?

 

After that we have the Exige S which is a monster on track, and great on the road too, but it's hardly a grand tourer....

 

Which brings us to the Evora - a jack of all trades, and a fantastic car, but (despite Goodwood's classification of the Evora S) simply isn't perceived as a supercar.

 

The company needs a new flagship - whether it's named Esprit or something else, the perception has to be the same that met the original Esprit back in the 70s, and once again in the beginning of the 90s with the release of the Turbo SE - a high-end luxury grand tourer supercar, maybe slightly less powerful than the competition, yet able to hold its own with an aesthetic that sets it apart from the pack. Then "simply" give it a bunch of high profile scenes in a couple of TV-shows or films. With television networks slowly losing power to on-demand services like Netflix over time I think Lotus could probably afford to approach those services to place a new car in one of their critically acclaimed shows....

Vanya Stanisavljevic '91 Esprit SE | '97 XK8

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At least DB led from the front, people knew what he wanted for the brand and he created a lot of excitement. He had a lot of passion too, real drive, whether that for a love of the marque or just a personal desire to succeed I've no idea, but there's no sign of any of those qualities at Lotus these days.

I agree 100% with this post. Most things he did were not bad. On the plus investing in the factory, the F1 deal, Lotus originals and the passion when he talked about Lotus.

I think the biggest mistake was the intoduction of the 5 new models or 6 ( the great looking but most forgotten one the city car ) it was better to work in silence on new cars and introduce them when they were almost ready and the order book was open. Now they had nothing to offer and sales became lower then low. If only he did not throw lots of money away on sponserships and fancy party's and all other things he gave himself he could be a great for the brand.

I still have some faith in the new management, production is running again,sales are ok,new people getting hired etc. I hope Lotus can do the trick again with the new model(s) they are working on. They did it before in difficult situations so why not this time !

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My 2cents:

 

If you bring out an esprit that can only be compared to a porsche 911 or say less than a 458 your not going to sell very well.  Lotus can produce the goods without the huge expense Mclaren went through to develop the MP412C.  Something like SID should be a natural progression for them as they have done all the Donkey work years ago.  I don't see why Lotus can't price the Esprit at 200K and above and make a halo car.  I wouldn't be able to afford it but there are lots of people who would buy it and the translation of sales to the lower models will be there as long as Lotus can bring the goods to those model (reliability) as well.

Edited by Bentzion

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

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I'm surprised to see so much support for the man who almost destroyed the company.  If he hadn't wasted so much money and spread resources so thinly by trying to push through 5 new models and thrown away all that was done and rubbished the Evora, we would probably be writing about all the road tests of the new Esprit and Evora convertible by now.

S4 Elan, Elan +2S, Federal-spec, World Championship Edition S2 Esprit #42, S1 Elise, Excel SE

 

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The problem with pitching a new Esprit against the Ferrari 458 and McLaren 12c is that they are both exceptionally accomplished cars so a new Esprit would have to be of a similar standard but probably significantly cheaper in order to sell. From the point of view of an independent and unbiased buyer, why take the chance otherwise when you don't yet know the reliability ect.? I would hope that a number of customers would buy into the Esprit name and its relative exclusivity but as to how many customers - I think that's difficult to predict. It's a considerable leap forward for Lotus in terms of all-round quality, too, to match McLaren and Ferrari cabins, for instance, although I 'assume' design studies ect. were made in the Bahar era.

 

I'm certainly not saying Lotus couldn't make a car that sat above the standards set by the aforementioned Ferrari/McLaren pair but that's got to be a hell of an ask! If it failed to significantly outperform that pair on whatever track the automotive journalists took it to, it would be instantly derided as being poor value in comparison. The interior, again, would have to be something pretty special - certainly a complete departure from anything they've produced before!

 

As it is, a new Esprit in the £110-140,000 bracket will be in direct competition with what seems to be an exceptional new Porsche 911 turbo S and McLaren's forthcoming P13. Autocar recently tested the new 911 in a sprint with a 12C which the Porsche won (0-60mph in 2.9 seconds); it's also lapped the 'ring' in 7.27 on its standard tyres.

 

I actually really support a new Esprit; I think they need a halo product and I'm sure Lotus are up to the challenge if appropriately backed, financially. However, I think the technical challenges involved, whether it's pitched at £140,000, £170,000 or £200,000, are prodigious to say the least given that the Lotus guys are up against companies who are already experienced at producing cars in those price brackets and have much deeper pockets.

 

Oh well, a new model by 2015, we'll just have to wait and see ...

Edited by Bee
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The problem with pitching a new Esprit against the Ferrari 458 and McLaren 12c is that they are both exceptionally accomplished cars so a new Esprit would have to be of a similar standard but probably significantly cheaper in order to sell. 

 

Believe it or not, you don't sell these cars over the price. As someone more famous than I said in the past, if you have to ask for the price you can't afford it! :unworthy:

 

Most buyers  of a McLaren or a Ferrari 458 collect these supercars, having owned the car is what counts. What counts for them is that the collection isn't complete if you didn't have THAT particular model.

 

So, if Lotus wants to be successful with an Esprit that's the challenge. Build a car that HAS to be in your collection to make it complete. Make it look spectacular and handle like a god. You may never be able to afford one, but it's got to give you wet dreams :help:

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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I'm surprised to see so much support for the man who almost destroyed the company.  If he hadn't wasted so much money and spread resources so thinly by trying to push through 5 new models and thrown away all that was done and rubbished the Evora, we would probably be writing about all the road tests of the new Esprit and Evora convertible by now.

 

Perhaps is a case of the lesser of two evils?

 

I'd welcome DB with open arms any day if it meant getting some passion back in the company... I'd sooner see someone at the helm working their nuts off to make a success of the company as opposed to a bunch of accountants slowly balancing the books while the world consigns Lotus to the history books. 

Edited by Stirling_Villeneuve

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

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"Better the devil you know"?

 

I asked PR about the MY14 Evora changes the other day and was fed the 'we don't discuss upcoming models' line. DRB really are dire at talking to customers. 

88 Esprit NA, 89 Esprit Turbo SE, Evora, Evora S, Evora IPS, Evora S IPS, Evora S IPS SR, Evora 400, Elise S1, Elise S1 111s, Evora GT410 Sport

Evora NA

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A happy medium between the two is what I think is needed - the passion of DB with some of the prudence of DRB.

 

Its gone from one extreme to the other.

 

I certainly want to see a new Esprit too - but think its got be be around the £100-£120k mark.  I don't think it stands much chance of succeeding if its £200k..

Edited by Nelly9000
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I can't help but think DRB's plan is to get Lotus into the black and then sell it off.  Let's face it they aren't developing or investing in anything new, but rather reworking tired and old designs.  They've pretty well ignored the US that was traditionally one of their largest markets.  Talking to a US dealer recently, Evora's aren't selling, no new product, no Exiges or Elises, pretty grim picture.  Then DRB totally squandered all the F1 publicity, I could go on but what's the point.  

Paddle Faster, I hear Banjos!
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There will be a time soon where they'll dream of the publicity that they're getting for free from F1.

 

I recently asked for a paddock or pit pass for Spa but was told there were none as they had all gone to dealers. I can put news and images in front of over 100,000 people through here and facebook etc so thought it would be beneficial. Being persistent, I called all UK/Belgium dealers asking if they had any spare and not one dealer knew anything about it, I can only guess someone is giving them to his pals or similar rather than using them for PR. 

88 Esprit NA, 89 Esprit Turbo SE, Evora, Evora S, Evora IPS, Evora S IPS, Evora S IPS SR, Evora 400, Elise S1, Elise S1 111s, Evora GT410 Sport

Evora NA

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DRB come from a pure profit stance with MANY accountants at the helm.  They probably looked at the company history and decided that they knew what is best.  They are going to run the company with a bean counter's intuition. 

Everytime this thread gets reinvigorated I get frustrated thinking about it.

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

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When Lotus has been run by bean counters in the past it's never ended well. It's a company built around passion, not penny pinching.

88 Esprit NA, 89 Esprit Turbo SE, Evora, Evora S, Evora IPS, Evora S IPS, Evora S IPS SR, Evora 400, Elise S1, Elise S1 111s, Evora GT410 Sport

Evora NA

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There will be a time soon where they'll dream of the publicity that they're getting for free from F1.

 

I recently asked for a paddock or pit pass for Spa but was told there were none as they had all gone to dealers. I can put news and images in front of over 100,000 people through here and facebook etc so thought it would be beneficial. Being persistent, I called all UK/Belgium dealers asking if they had any spare and not one dealer knew anything about it, I can only guess someone is giving them to his pals or similar rather than using them for PR. 

I do know that my dealer got one from Lotus for the Nurburgring this year.

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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I think it's worth remembering that Dany Bahar wasn't on his own. He inherited and collected around him what I considered to be a very convincing pool of talent. 

 

What I saw is no less than what I would expect to see of a company determined to fight its way out of failure and reinvigorate the brand with products that would excite. They certainly started well. When they were talking about a home-built engine for the Esprit, I thought it was even better. This was a demonstration of real confidence... Such a shame the rug was pulled. 

 

A company's worth is not just about profit today. It's about the chance of being profitable tomorrow. You only have to look at Amazon - a company which for years has operated at a loss to see this. Amazon is worth billions simply because it is eating up market share. Lotus today could attract huge amounts of capital if it was clear that tomorrow it would take a place at the high seat of the luxury brands  such as Mercedes, Aston Martin, Porsche, Ferrari etc.  Dany Bahar was there to sort out that high seat. 

 

 

Being able to demonstrate that you managed to assemble today's models without losing much money, whilst having not the faintest idea how Lotus is going to grow and flourish in the future is no use at all. I wouldn't invest, and I don't think many others would either. 

 

I agree with whoever pointed out that DRB's actions are those of an accountant preparing to divest themselves of something they'd rather not bother with. It's a 'clean-up' exercise and nothing more. Why bother with the expense of trade shows if you have no interest in the company's future, but instead are just trying to tidy up the balance-sheet?

 

Lotus can't afford to design and build tomorrow's Lotuses on the small change of tiny savings here or there. They need to dream a big dream and take proper adult steps towards realising that dream.

 

DRB are not in the dream business.

Edited by cnapan
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Whilst I understand the sentiment expressed above I believe there are some positives. Opening and investing in several new dealerships in markets where Lotus has never really had a presence for example. This is not cheap and the "old and tired" platforms are actually the shiny new thing in those markets. This kind of investment does not indicate, to me at least, that DRB are about to bale out.

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I think DRB are doing a better job on improving Lotus from an operational perspective. The build quality has improved significantly, albeit this effort was started under DB. But, they also seem to be underway to returning to profitability, i.e. earning cash with the cars they are building, which DB certainly didn't achieve. Opening new markets in Asia is certainly a step in the right direction.

 

But, there can be no disagreement that DRB have no perception of the Lotus DNA! In the business world DNA is not just about the products you build, but all the more so how the market perceives them. Does Apple build better mobile phones than, for example, Samsung or HTC? No, but the Apple DNA has a better image that stands for coolness and success.

 

Has anyone seen DRB do anything to reestablish Lotus image in the market? DB was definitively doing a lot more in that arena. The F1 sponsorship is  still paying off and DRB are profiting immensely from the free publicity. Particularly in those new markets they are entering, where Lotus wasn't even known before and the only the F1 colours are there to build an image.

 

Anyway, despite all his faults I always knew we would get nostalgic on here about Danny sooner or later. DRB has made that sooner.

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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In my opnion Lotus should concentrate in improving their existing Elise(eg. removing those horrible side mirror that come from the S1 Elise!!!!!) and Evora (interiors are ugly with a mixture of cheap components of major manufacturers....i.e some controls behind the steering wheels are the same as ones used in the 1999 Ford Focus!!!!)

If you intend to sell an exclusive car for the same price of a Porsche you should remove these cheap parts or sell the car with a 35% off compared with a Porsche

In the sporting side the F1 is playing a good effect....but....let´s remember that Lotus only offers Elise/Exige and Evoras., so there would be a connection (for example Kimi and Romain reaching the GGPP into their "Lotus company Cars"

Besides that at Hethel they would design proper Exige and Evora racers for Rally and GT....

Where is the so called Evora GX or the Rally GT Exige???? ....they lack from factory support ...a pity

Finally the LMP2 project has nosense for me ....they should invest that money in a car that fans recognise as a Lotus 

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Dany is awesome.

Bring back Dany.

(He asked me to write that)

Awesome Guy

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Sudders and Dany

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