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Lotus -v- the opposition


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My question is how does Alfa think that they can break even with such a car when the cost of producing the tub is probably killing it?

 

you got it, the financial outcome of this project will be interesting for Lotus (technically, we all agree Lotus can deliver or design similar models, they even may be involved in that 4C project...)

(ex) Elise S1 (VIN 357) LHD

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In the latest autocar.co.uk article about the 4C, lot of production figures. those in the  car industry may assess the production cost I guess:

 

"The tub uses ‘pre-preg’ carbonfibre, which is hand-laid in a one-piece mould and oven cured in vacuum bags. It takes 90 man hours to create."

 

"There are nine main assembly ‘stations’, each manned by between two and three workers, who have 14 minutes to perform multiple assembly operations. The 14-minute ‘cycle time’ is long by volume car factory standards; typically, they are as low as one minute. But 14 minutes has been the standard Maserati cycle time at Modena, so it is also adopted by Alfa. Station 4, where the engine and gearbox are installed, is one of the most time consuming. Overall, it takes between 20 and 25 hours to complete the build, which is spread over about three weeks. By comparison, a Maserati takes about 60 hours over two months."

 

http://www.autocar.co.uk/car-news/new-cars/alfa-romeo-4c-full-technical-details

(ex) Elise S1 (VIN 357) LHD

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Guest surferphil

!Warning! Geek content only here: Please feel free to ignore this post skip ahead.

 

Pre preg means the carbon fibre woven fabric is pre impregnated with epoxy resin and packed before it is delivered to the customer (in this case Alfa). The product (Pre preg CF) is kept at very low temperature (in a freezer) to prevent the Epoxy resin from curing until it is laid up in the mould at which time the resin starts to cure. The tricky bit is raising the temperature of the resin enough to work with it and get the laminating (laying up) done without any air bubbles in between the sheets of pre preg before it cures.

 

Vacuum bagging is best done without Pre preg so a resin infusion process can be used after the air has been removed eliminating air bubbles which are flaws in the finished product.  

 

Sorry about that.

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As per the production, the director of production is talking about 3,500 units per year in the article below, the carbon fiber features 13% of the components: http://www.autoexpress.co.uk/alfa-romeo/4c/64466/alfa-romeo-4c-price-specs-and-release-date

 

Having said that, auto express source is not the most reliable one.

 

To reach this production rate, you need to sell a lot in Asia and US I think. Lotus don't even sell the Elise in the US anymore. In a 'normal' business, it won't make sense to produce a non-compliant model for your biggest market.

Not selling the Elise and  Exige  V6 in the US (and Canada) is a huge blunder in my opinion. Then again getting the cars back state side would require some investment to be made: smart airbags + engine/chassis re-homologation. But an Elise with a new cabin and better ergonomics (and a glovebox) inspired from the Tesla Roadster would probably be a good base and the possibility to get the Exige states side would probably generate additional income for the company. So unless Lotus is working quietly on a new Elise that they plan to release very soon, I don't get why they don't.

 

 

Maybe I'm saying this cause I do live in Montreal and I cannot import a "used" US Elise for 25k and get it registered here... I have to go to one of the 4 Canadian dealers and pay well in excess of 40k for a 2011 model as they are extremely rare that or try my luck on ebay.ca and pay about the same price!

Edited by NedaSay
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