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Does Lotus need a "halo" car?


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Thanks to DB, many of us thought that Lotus would eventually enter the front-running supercar market as per the Esprit concept or similar. But is this really necessary? Many seem to have forgotten that even the revered Giugiaro Turbo Esprit was only a mid-priced sports car, cheaper than even the Renault GTA Turbo at the time. In fact it was 15% cheaper than a Porsche 944 Turbo.

I don't have the equivalent price data for the V8 Esprit, which was clearly positioned at a more expensive market, but it didn't really sell like hot cakes did it?

Nowadays Lotus would have even more competition in the supercar market, so should they just be focusing on developing improved replacements for the existing products, rather than pushing further up-market?

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Whether or not you agree with it there is a big market for the £150k+ cars out there. There is no need to abandon the more affordable cars but to not have a halo car with the higher margins it can give is daft.

The money made can then subsidise the cheaper cars which give minimal margins.

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See I disagree, the range is already stretched too much imho... £30k to £100kplus

you need an upgrade path, already the gaps are getting bigger between cars, often too much for some to make, so they sit tight at each level... or leave the brand for other cars.

On Order: 2021 Lotus Elise Cup 250 FE in Isotope Green, Red Alcantara Interior, Carbon Aero Kit, AirCon, Carpets & Mats, NVH pack, Cruise Control, Stereo, Red Calipers.
Now Gone2018 Lotus Elise Sport 220 in Metallic Blue, Alcantara Pack, Forged Wheels, 2piece brakes, AirCon, Hard/Soft Tops, Red Calipers, Stereo, Interior Colour Pack, NVH Pack, Carpets, Mats.
Previously Owned: 2016 Lotus Evora 400, 2010 Lotus Evora NA, 2003 VX220 Supercharged, 2001 VX220 Lightning Yellow
Follow my Lotus journey here: http://www.FaceBook.com/HandmadeInHethel

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I think there is a little sweet spot at around £120-£130k for a well hand made and crafted, well specc'ed, beautiful and superb handling "true" supercar.  It would undercut the McLaren's by circa £30k and Ferrari's by about £50k and would move it above everything in the Porkpie range apart from the truly great "RS" and "R" and "918" type cars so should stop the stupid comparisons with the beetles and cockroaches.

If having a car in that sweet car is a "halo" car, then hell yeah, i think lotus is the manufacturer to do it.

Re @CocoPops point I disagree slightly. You can have a base Elise for what £30k ish, then move on to the biggest and baddest SE or 250 Cup at say £45k.  The Exige is what, £55k - £65k, and the Evora is £75k - £85k.

So, you could start young at £30k, and then grow all the way up to £85k currently. Is that really crowded?

Alcohol. Sex. Tobacco. Drugs. Chocolate.  Meh! NOTHING in this world is as addictive as an Evora +0. It's not for babies!    

The first guy to ride a bull for fun, was a true hero. The second man to follow him was truly nuts!   

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Nooo, crowded isn't what I was saying.. stretching it is...

£85k Evora to a £150k something... that's too big a stretch.

On Order: 2021 Lotus Elise Cup 250 FE in Isotope Green, Red Alcantara Interior, Carbon Aero Kit, AirCon, Carpets & Mats, NVH pack, Cruise Control, Stereo, Red Calipers.
Now Gone2018 Lotus Elise Sport 220 in Metallic Blue, Alcantara Pack, Forged Wheels, 2piece brakes, AirCon, Hard/Soft Tops, Red Calipers, Stereo, Interior Colour Pack, NVH Pack, Carpets, Mats.
Previously Owned: 2016 Lotus Evora 400, 2010 Lotus Evora NA, 2003 VX220 Supercharged, 2001 VX220 Lightning Yellow
Follow my Lotus journey here: http://www.FaceBook.com/HandmadeInHethel

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Gotcha. sorry.

Yup you're right hence the £120k ish marker. 

Alcohol. Sex. Tobacco. Drugs. Chocolate.  Meh! NOTHING in this world is as addictive as an Evora +0. It's not for babies!    

The first guy to ride a bull for fun, was a true hero. The second man to follow him was truly nuts!   

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I guess what I'm saying is that there is plenty of money out there to buy high value cars. Whether you get to £130k or £160k it kind of doesn't matter any more as they are out of the reach of the normal person and become bought by those who must have the next thing.

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I think it would benefit the brand hugely, but it would require a large short-medium term injection of cash, which just isn't realistic in the present climate, sadly.

Dreaming for a moment, I guess the fantasy would be finding an investor with the cash and the long term vision to give the undoubtedly brilliant engineers at Lotus the chance to really stretch themselves. Not only would that give the Lotus brand a boost, but open all sorts of new ideas which the investor brand could use, and also sell on to others...

 

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I just don't think the return on investment of a halo car would be worth it. IMO Lotus needs to sell more volume at the price points they are now at. I think diverting huge amounts of money into developing a low volume supercar, which may or may not succeed, is not the right way to go. Lotus should concentrate on making the replacements for their existing range the very best vehicles in their classes and market them accordingly. That way they can win a larger share of their current marketplace, of which they barely scratch the surface in global terms.

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Lotus are on fire right now with the Exige and Evora 410. They're fighting their way through a relatively hostile and conservative journalistic landscape and earning respect and accolades the hard way . The way the Evora 410 reviews read, if anything, Lotus has it's halo car soon - and will most likely end up making the competition looking daft when they're selling their flagship car at roughly £100 000 with raw performance and desirability matching or outperforming many of the more established premium brands. They don't need a halo car, they just need to keep on chiselling away at this fantastic niche they've found for themselves. 

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Vanya Stanisavljevic '91 Esprit SE | '97 XK8

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I agree the 410 seems to be getting a lot more credibility with Journalists than the similarly priced "Vanilla" 911 (as Pistonheads describes it).  Porsche have dropped a ball and Lotus seem to be taking advantage.

Hoping now for the halo Evora 450 with GTE body work.

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Actually I disagree with @CocoPops. I think very very few people buy the entry level Elise, most will have the 220 and that's really about £40k once optioned. A well specced Evora 400 is coming in at mid-70s, with the 410 probably around the 80-85k - so the whole range is stuffed into a very small and extremely competitive price bracket.

I genuinely believe a Halo car is necessary. It doesn't need to be that different from the Evora under the skin - more outlandish styling, a better interior and a properly exotic engine with 500+ bhp would do nicely. It's quite popular now to offer a couple of trims so you can do the "plain" at around £120k and the "Sport" at £150k or whatever.

Lotus' real issue is not that they are making bad cars, quite the opposite, but simply so few people know about them. A couple of million quid sunk into some PR would do wonders, but it'll never get the go-ahead as it'd probably smack too much of the DB era for those in control of the purse strings.

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James Martin (JayEmm)
Director of Photography & Car Enthusiast

Follow my Lotus adventure online! www.jayemm.com

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Does anyone have the official sales numbers from Lotus, or are they not available? That would show what is going on, wouldn't it?

All we know is that when they stop making this, we will be properly, properly sad.Jeremy Clarkson on the Esprit.

Opinions are like armpits. Everyone has them, some just stink more than others.

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An analogy here that might be of interest when it comes to a vehicle manufacturer's strategy and reality.

I have a little Honda CB400 Four motorbike, 1976 vintage. Well actually two of them as I'm rebuilding what will be a mint one out of boxes for my son's 25th birthday in January as a surprise present (shhh, don't tell him!)

The story with this model that was made from 1975 to 1978 was that Honda wanted to produce a mid sized four cylinder little rocket based on their hugely successful CB750 SOHC flagship. It was way ahead of its time and is truly a delicious high revving turbine of a thing, complete with the engineering heritage of the 1960's multi cylinder racers that blew the competition away in the lower capacity GP classes. However, the accountants realised that it had as many components and took as much time to build as the CB750 but sold at a much lower price and hence margin, so eventually economics killed this gem.

So conversely in this halo discussion... a top end Lotus that costs the same to build as say, an Exige, but sells with an higher profit margin?

I tempted fate...now my Esprit V8 IS in bits...(sob)

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There's some food for thought. Did not know that about the 400 which a friend of mine had. Went like a rocket!

All we know is that when they stop making this, we will be properly, properly sad.Jeremy Clarkson on the Esprit.

Opinions are like armpits. Everyone has them, some just stink more than others.

For forum issues, please contact one of us Moderators.

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Not so much an Exige but assembling something shouldn't take significantly more than an Evora, you would think.

The question is what talents Lotus still have in houses, farming work out is expensive

James Martin (JayEmm)
Director of Photography & Car Enthusiast

Follow my Lotus adventure online! www.jayemm.com

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They've plenty of people to do it but designing a new car, even using plenty of shared components would cost tens of millions at a pinch, easily into the hundreds and JMG isn't spending money at present. The Evora was super-cheap to develop in car terms at just under £60m and that was 7-8 years ago. DRB allegedly want Proton/Lotus gone so they aren't going to fund it either. 

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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If I'm right, DRB bought Proton. Lotus ended up with DRB only because Proton owned them.

All we know is that when they stop making this, we will be properly, properly sad.Jeremy Clarkson on the Esprit.

Opinions are like armpits. Everyone has them, some just stink more than others.

For forum issues, please contact one of us Moderators.

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Developing the Evora was cheap indeed at 60M some 8 years ago.  Developing a halo car now would cost a whole lot more, even by reusing as much of the platform as they can and using shared components, it would still cost close to 250M if not 300M with Brexit not really helping.... That projection is of course dependant on Lotus using Toyota/Lexus powertrain which would ease development.  Developing a supercar for such a low cost would be no small feat but If one remember the DB Esprit, it was supposed to undercut most of the current crop of supercars at an entry price below 120k. I do believe Lotus can do it, but not at the moment.

Right now, they need to sell all the 3Eleven Sport& Race to rack in some cash, After all, for now at least the 3Eleven is Lotus halo car. Lotus should also bank on the good press coverage the Sport 410 and Sport 380 are getting to shift their respective yearly allocation. The 150 Sport 410 cars should be easy enough ; Japan, Germany, France, Italy and the UK should make for most Sport 380. The question is, where are they with the 3Eleven? Is it selling in the anticipated numbers? In my opinion the 3Eleven is a good indicator of Lotus pulling power as it's completely uncompromised. The allocation was 311cars, It was very cheap  to develop and the tech from that car should easily trickle down the product line. Evora still has a lot of juice in its tank, there will be at least a Race version of it (new GT4). That could make for a very nice halo car. Should Lotus be able to bank on the cars they have now and some form of investment comes along, they should be in a good place for the future and it may then be time to "unshelve" an Esprit project, not before that.              

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