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EVO Review of Current Lotus Situation


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An interesting and thoughtful piece by Richard Meaden in the new EVO. Whilst he is generally very positive of the work JMG is doing and he feels Lotus will survive and probably thrive, he thinks DRB should let him do more, quicker.

 

If not, he believes they should sell Lotus to VW (weren't they offered it for £1 a few years back?). He makes a reasonable argument, but in the same stable as Porsche? Not sure about that.

 

Discuss.

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VW? No thanks.   Toyota? Yes please.   I agree that DRB need to let Lotus do more. The competition is so far ahead (as far as the market is concerned) and moving very fast. The current range of ca

JLLR.           (Jaguar Lotus Land Rover)

Firstly I was wondering when/if EVO were going to do an article on the current events at lotus considering dany managed to get them to drink his Kool Aid.... I like the EVO guys so am interested in se

I'd rather see Lotus go down in a blaze of glory with a 500bhp Exige V6 nutter bastard edition than fizzle out with a whimper and nothing but a limp, half-baked SUV. Copying Porsche is the last thing they should be doing. They should be making cars for the people that Porsche are leaving behind

Very true Pits!

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As with Lamborghini, long term stability will require a very large, well funded owner. Of those, Toyota looks like the best fit for both companies.

I really admire what Aston Martin achieved post Ford but they are fast running out of steam. Without the vast investment needed to develop a new generation of cars they are pretty much back to limping along again.

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No question Toyota could benefit heavily from Lotus expertise in handling and suspension, not to mention overall excitement. And Lotus would be the natural partner considering the currently used power plants. But, does Toyota management have the balls for such an engagement?

 

VW didn't buy Lamborghini or relaunch Bugatti based on a sound business decision. There was a real car guy behind both ventures, Ferdinand Piech wanted to do it, irrespective of cost or risk.

 

Maybe Daimler and Lotus might be a better fit. A good handling Merc hasn't been around for decades and noone would object to an AMG powered Lotus.

 

Oh well, its all a dream anyways. More likely would be someone like Tata. :huh:  

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Without the industry or Lotus-specific knowledge of others here, I can only question rather than comment but I'm wondering whether, given the losses of skilled (key?) staff, is an opened money-chest enough? Are those now retained deemed the sort primarily necessary for "broadening the range" rather than exploiting the "Lotus expertise in handling and suspension" referred to by TBD or the "500bhp Exige V6 nutter bastard edition" dreamt of by the The Pits, let alone some new halo model?

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DRB have put a lot of money and tbh its a big risk for them. Not sure the VW/£1 offer was anything other than internet rumours. 

 

I am not sure Toyota are right for Lotus. The Japs don't have any experience with such companies and Toyota need to sort their own performance cars out first. Don't forget they are doing some with BMW too.

 

The only obvious route is to be bought by a big manufacturer, whoever it is, but we may find that Lotus changes as much as brands like Skoda have and we may not like it as traditional Lotus enthusiasts.

 

Lambo was bought and has done v/well but what other similar supercar company has also done so? Aston haven't been snapped up for example.

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I'm with Jonny being with Toyota/Lexus is better than playing 7th fiddle at VW. The company just needs to develop ever closer ties with Toyota till it makes sense for Toyota to take equity again. DRB are doing things sensibly but Proton is very little help. But I don't get the part of joining VW. I don't know why VW would buy Lotus when they already own Porsche, Lamborghini and Bentley.

 

The JLLR option would make a lot of sense a premium car group with huge depth of know how when it comes to sell aspirational. Steady and significant stream of investment allowing the brands to grow...  Huge potential synergies  when it comes to parts sourcing...

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Christ VW cant be trusted with lotus. I like most of what they did with lambo apart from removing the lambo soul.

I was knocking about in a lp560 spyder a couple of days ago. Apart from the engine destroyed by the g box the rest felt really bad and boring. Vag like dull.... Not at all fun to drive. Nothing on a 458.

mind you.... im used to an exige v6.

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TATA would be the dream buyer but I can't see anyone leaping to buy Lotus, at the moment. Land Rover sales for 2014 are going to be around the half million mark and I believe Jaguar were hoping for 100,000+ (they did 77,000 in 2013). It's easy to see why someone would buy and invest in those companies as the sales volumes were always going to justify very significant investment. That said, 'Jaguar, Lotus, Land Rover' doesn't half roll off the tongue nicely, and TATA would really, really be seen as the saviours of the British car industry. We can but hope and dream!

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It's interesting isn't it? VW have no need for Lotus. Tata could be a good fit, a sports car range to go with JLR but with the F-Type there could be a clash. Ford and GM aren't likely to go down the performance/prestige route again IMO. Chrysler/FIAT too (shudder!).

 

Who does that leave? The Japs, none of whom have bought anything much ever and the Chinese. Volvo are doing well under the Chinese, Rover are re restarting but getting there (quite different I appreciate). TBH from that a big investment from the Chinese may be the most likely option.

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Chinese? Very unlikely, Lotus has no reputation in China and litte to offer to  the Chinese market. 

 

What benefit would there be to a potential investor?

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

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Tata and Toyota I would feel comfortable with (and so would MJK) but VW Group? Are you insane? They'd either turn it into a well put together but soulless "Cheap Porker" clone or just buy it because they know they are a threat and asset strip it and shut it!

 

Toyota definitely need a Sports car division. Their current normal cars are "just cars" with only the GT86 being even half fun. Everything is hybrid, boring and expensive. Even Lexus is just "Meh".

 

Tata would be the one for me. Look what they have done for JLR!

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Toyota ha no recent (last 20 years) track record of knowing anything about how make cars sporty though. Although it sounds nice I just can't see ny Jap company buying a non Jap car company.

 

The Chinese may not know much generally about Lotus but how much did they know about MG or Volvo.? They have an F1 race with Lotus F1 cars and Lotus is one of the few prestige brands available to them.

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Firstly I was wondering when/if EVO were going to do an article on the current events at lotus considering dany managed to get them to drink his Kool Aid.... I like the EVO guys so am interested in seeing the article.

Lotus needs a serious sugar daddy. As mentioned above Aston is doing ok but they really haven't done anything truly groundbreaking since They had the cash in the Ford days and don't forget they are partnering up with Merc/AMG.

As for VW buying Lotus. Back when that rumor was floating around, a close friends brother in law had a high position at Audi. We were out one night and I quizzed him about them buying Lotus. He said they looked but were more interested in Alfa and made some jokes about Lotus and how the rattly cars wouldn't fit in at VW. It basically came down to the fact VW saw no value in a Lotus type car or no way to use Lotus engineering as they had porsche consulting, so therefore were not interested. I'm a VAG fan but would not like to see Lotus go there as although I know they would become better 'quality' cars they will lose their Lotusness.

I don't want the Chinese getting it as I'm worried about them taking only for their knowledge and IP.

Toyota would make sense to a point but again they don't do 'fun' although the current CEO seems to be more sporty minded I can't see staid toyota going for it.

Which leaves TATA/JLR, I've said for a while that Lotus would fit their group perfectly as the other British brand, with LR doing the serious SUV stuff, Jag doing the luxo sedan/ sporting GTs and Lotus as the true sports/supercar (esprit) which pretty much would have them cover the mid to top end of the market pretty completely. It would also leave to open to have a Lotus sedan to slot in below the higher end Jags that they want to compete with Aston and Bentley.

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Volvo/Geely would also be a good big brother for Lotus, IMO, they have great tech, very cool powertrains and a new eagerness to prove their sporty credentials and compete with the german and the Chinese owners are not messing around with the investment.

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Yes I can see JLR being a good fit, also with Lotus's 'me too' ambitions for an SUV.

 

Range Rover can do the big luxury SUV,

Jag can do the big, sporty, luxury SUV,

Lotus can do the smaller, sportier SUV,

leaving Land Rover to do the ones that can actually go off road!

 

A Lotus Evoque would be the least painful Lotus SUV option for me, providing it was in the mould of the Lotus Carlton. A Lotus styled Evoque with absurd horsepower and then finally the world could see what a true high performance SUV was like.

 

If 'what the market wants' is all that matters, that's all we'll have soon. At least until Porsche 're-discover' the small, agile, affordable sports car, which will sell like hot cakes when people realise the value of a low centre of gravity and low kerb weight. For a generation used to bloated SUVs the 'revelation' will be all the greater. I just hope Lotus gets there first. However, I fear they're fixated on the curve itself, rather than looking ahead of it.

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@@@Jonny:

 Well written, but I am afraid that nearly nobody, esp no "market relevant" customers are interested in"value of low centr of gravity and low kerb weight..." they even do not know ynything about this themes, they want to be "king of the road" in the means of "SUV-Mogul".......

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I'm afraid its even worse than that. Within our (economical) peer group we  Lotus drivers are the freaks, resp. the people our parents always warned us about. :vava:  We intentionaly buy a cramped car with a hard suspension that can't even carry the wife and the kids .  :o We drive much too fast and we enjoy it even more when the car makes noise. :rant:

 

No, what the masses want are big cars that are easy to get in or out of, have room for the wife, kids and the family dog.  :horse:

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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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All the manufacturers are falling over themselves to make SUVs. That's what 'the market' wants right now. But I think Lotus should be looking further ahead.

 

Porsche followed BMW into sports SUVs but now they working on a smaller, lighter, more simple, sub-Boxster sports car. They got it right about the SUV over ten years ago. I'm inclined to think that they might be on to something with the small sports car. As already said, imagine how a small sports car would feel when you're used to SUVs? Amazing! Also it would be a perfect complement to your family SUV everyday car.

 

We have a Lexus RX400h for the family. With young kids inside I only want to drive slowly anyway, so may as well do it in comfort. It's a near perfect family car, truly outstanding at its day job, a pleasure to travel in but not in any way a pleasure to drive. It also makes the Exige feel even more incredible when I get back into it!

 

Lotus should remember that Porsche with their billions let Audi do the SUV, they just stick the badges on and hike the price up. It's madness for Lotus to think they can compete with a ground-up SUV of their own. Yet a simple, small, lightweight sports car is something they can do better than anyone. Porsche included. Yes they already have it with the Elise but that needs a serious revamp. If your £55k sports car is selling so much better than your £30k sports car it's time for a serious rethink.

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