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Future of Lotus


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22 hours ago, C8RKH said:

Trade shows are getting less and less valuable in general. Money for old rope and you end up chasing the trade show for launches / updates rather than choosing your own time and approach.

Just my humble opinion.

Yes and likely no more dolly birds either.

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So before the 2 new sports cars do show up and now that they have announced the final 3Eleven 430 final run,... . What is next? We've been waiting for a long time for an Evora roadster. The Evora 400 is pretty much du for a refresh not to say a GTfication. The Exige Cup 430  has everything of a swan song but I do not think it is quite time for the Exige to drive into the sunset. The Elise is set to soldier on for a little while longer I think but I doubt it will remain unchanged, so what can we anticipate? 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Something for the new Elise?

Toyota sets in Geneva a new petrol engine for which the hybrid drivetrain of the Prius. And there would be this new engine also a hybrid derivative. Both versions are for future models.This engine would be unbeatable economical thanks to a new technology to reduce friction and new, more efficient in-and exhaust systems. The petrol two litre 169 HP develop and would later be combined with an electric motor. In other words, there are two versions of in the near future. According to Toyota applies the block in both forms in the nose of all models that rest on the TNGA platform. And he is also associated with a completely reworked CVT automatic. For more detailed information about this new technical solutions we have to wait until next week when the 88th edition of the Geneva Motor Show opens the doors.

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Why would Lotus keep paying for a 4 cyl Toyota - even if hybrid compliant - when they can source one within the group which will produce a lot more power as standard?

I would get opting to retain the Toyota V6 if they cannot bring the Geely 6 cyl up to EURO VI spec, but I really don't get why they would keep paying for the 4 cyl when the Chinese supply will be at least as good, and customisable at will, and will cost less. And again Toyota new 2l is a lean burn which is great for fuel economy but nothing they cannot get from within the group. Another point going against that engine is the loom that the Elise may get if it gets one last major refresh, it would logically be a loom shared by all Lotuses in the future and derived from the Volvo/Geely electrical architecture.   

As for the hybrid component, JMG has said it many times, he will take a hard pass on making a hybrid sportcar because the package would be too heavy.  However  a full EV sportscar as soon as Polestar and Volvo come out with the tech would foregone conclusion as is the hybrid crossover which will most certainly feature an hybrid propulsion system to help Lotus meet CAFE standard in the US and their equivalent in Europe, and Asia.

I personally see the Elise adopting the Volvo/Geely  1.5L 3 cyl turbo  180bhp as base ( Replacing the Elise Sport) and the 2L 4 cyl turbo 250 bhp  (replacing the 220 Sport) before 2020 if indeed the Elise isn't getting replaced.

Lotus is now part of a group that has muscles to flex, and I'm pretty positive that they will flex it in a big way.  The fact that they are going to build a carbon tub supercar to replace the limited run 3Eleven is very telling, even more when they say the car will be less extreme. The fact that JMG said that these car would be in production until 2024/25 is even more revealing: 

http://www.carsuk.net/lotus-to-deliver-two-new-cars-and-an-suv-in-the-next-three-years/

I'm pretty sure that the 4 cyl Toyota days of Lotus are coming to an end, it is not sad as the 4 cyl 1.8L Supercharged 250bhp is a wonderful engine so wonderful in fact that the work Lotus has done on that engine has been so thorough that it was  adopted by Toyota's own Gazoo Racing Master of Nurburgring division  on their Yaris GRMN.   

 

Edited by NedaSay
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Indeed Lotus will not be at Geneva Motorshow.

Cars are not evolving in a way I like, Lotus is an (the?) exception for me : raw, fun, performant on track and road with a low running cost.

I don't know what the future will be, but the present is good.  

 

 

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1 hour ago, geartox said:

Indeed Lotus will not be at Geneva Motorshow.

Cars are not evolving in a way I like, Lotus is an (the?) exception for me : raw, fun, performant on track and road with a low running cost.

I don't know what the future will be, but the present is good.  

 

 

I'll be more interested in shows in the second half of the year when maybe, just maybe details of the forthcoming cars will be released.

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I think meaningful details on the new cars are still at least a year away but Lotus still need to update some models, mostly the base model of each range have gone  without updates for a while now. Off course Lotus has been chasing higher margins at the top end but I think Lotus will introduce new base spec soon. The Elise sport has been discontinued and they may see fit to replace it with a new variant. the Evora 400 should make way for a Evora GT 400. And if indeed the Exige is the model getting a replacement and the Elise and Evora do soldier on for a few more years it would make sens to update their electrical architecture as much as possible. I do think Beijing 2018 is too early but I would not rule out a nice surprise around Goodwood. Unless JMG decides to keep up with his 2017 release pace , in which case it could be any day now.

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Maybe you're right maybe not. Please bear in mind that the coming years will reduce emissions be very important. And a 3 cyl turbo only will not be the solution.

Lotus would also have a role to play in this. Wait and see.

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The plan appears to be tweaking existing models as often as possible with minimal investment in those models in terms of changes that would require expensive R&D.  Geely’s money appears to be going into the completely new models.  The goal appears to be to maintain excitement and interest (and sales) for Lotus until the new models arrive.

At this point, not sure that Lotus would even spend the money to offer a targa version of the Evora.  How long existing models will have to soldier on is unclear, but probably at least a couple more years.  The challenges in the meantime are also clear.  The Evora 400 GT is a slight cosmetic change to the 400.  But Porsche is coming out with the next gen 911 this Fall.  Lotus will find it increasingly hard to compete without their new models.

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I was at Komo-tec (Lotus am Ring) last thursday and had the opportunity to see the full current Lotus range except the Lotus 3-Eleven 430 (but there were 2 3-Eleven 410's in the showroom). Quite an impressive collection, but the upmarket strategy of JMG is certainly leaving its mark.

At 161.000€ the Evora GT430 is certainly pushing the price boundaries quite a bit, but I felt that this car is at least worth the money. The Evora has reached a quality level that seems at par even to Porsche, the performance is undaunted and the looks astonishing. Congratulations to all those who have bought one (@Pits). Only thing I' d still like to see is the wider track and hips of the fomer Evora GTE.

In contrast at 130.000€ the Exige Cup 430 looks heavily overpriced. Sure, Lotus has added quite something in comparison to the Exige 350, but all this has gone into enhancing performance, nothing into daily usability (the Exige still rattles as much as ever). 130K€ for a trackday tool with very limited chance to harvest the its strengths in day-to-day driving and limited creature comforts makes for a very niche market. In this price segment you would at least expect active suspension, maybe rear wheel steering and why not active aero? Take a 350/380 and give it the full Komo-tec treatment you're still saving 20K€ (or get the 500Hp and the sequential gearbox).

So, with the Exige Cup 430 at 130.000€ the 3-Eleven starts to look a bargain at 120.000€. You'll probably want a trailer for both and, if so, you might as well go for the real thing. I was actually tempted considering that I'm now living in an area where the sun shines most of the year. Getting in and out of a 3-Eleven can't be much more awkward than getting into the Exige with the roof on.

Obviously Komo-tec had a few Elises too and at least their prices are still at a level where you might not have second thoughts. Sure, the Elise will nowhere match the outright performance of either the Evora GT430, the Exige Cup 430 or the 3-Eleven, but you'll probably have just as much fun and its much easier to justify the price.

So, what does all this mean for the future? Well, all of the current range have pretty much been stretched to their limits. You can't tune the V6 engine much further without a new gearbox (which Toyota can't supply), the current Exige/Elise chassis doesn't leave much potential to increase day-today usability (not to mention that it can't be sold in the US-market). Also, none of the current range hold much potential for attracting new buyer groups, which is essential for Lotus future growth.

Lotus future would look dismal without having Geely behind them  and without JMG having successfully moved prices up market.

 

 

 

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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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  • 2 weeks later...

A slight aside but I was on holiday in Cuba last week (will do a post about the other cars there in the Random thread) and was surprised to see loads of recent Geely saloons, many of them taxis. Apparently they look identical to a US Chevrolet model. Of course with the continuing embargoes the Chinese would only be too happy to supply another communist country. We had a ride in one from the airport to the hotel and it was very nice, a good standard and could have been a new Ford, Vauxhall, Peugeot etc.

DSC_0464-1960x1102.thumb.JPG.c2a55026f11f9dfe4f0c963ad1a1c507.JPG

DSC_0458-1960x1102.thumb.JPG.c8addb0a4f4e1636e35e4e78a5c6d351.JPG

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

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The first piece is of interest I agree, go check the motorsport thread.

The second one is one of Frankel fluff piece that he sometimes writes when he has very little to say, which happens every now and then. JMG did state it many times, Lotus will stay in Hethel cause Hethel is the heart of Lotus. 

Lotus will definitely use other production sites in the future one assuredly being in China and the other one could potentially be in Coventry where LEVC has a brand new plant or Gent where Volvo has a plant. Lotus will not relocate its headquarter the same way Volvo did not relocate their HQ.  Should Lotus need more staff, and have trouble finding them, they could just open a new office jointly with LEVC or lease part of the oversized LEVC factory.

However if you think about it, thanks to their acquisition by Geely Lotus now has access to no less than 4 R&D facilities in 3 different countries and 10,000 staff. Lotus is in the process of hiring 200 new staff based at Hethel. So much for the comparison with Aston Martin, Lotus is not a stand alone player any longer.

Lotus could also rearm Lotus Engineering Inc in the US, as it is located in Ann Arbor, Michigan, it would have no problem attracting highly qualified staff from any of the US big 3, and the US is Geely's next big target, as Geely is slowly gearing up to launch Lynk & Co over there by 2020 if they can stick to their schedule.   

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Geely in Formula E just has to be LOTUS!!! Within the group they are the only brand with a proper racing heritage and what better way to push the group than leverage it.

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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9 hours ago, NedaSay said:

The first piece is of interest I agree, go check the motorsport thread.

 

Sorry NedaSay.  I was browsing on my phone and didn't spot your motorsport post.

Yes the Frankel piece is just speculation. It is like a "phoney war" at the moment. Lots going on behind the scenes, whilst we all wait impatiently for some big announcement. 

Always good to read your insightful posts.

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4 hours ago, LotusLeftLotusRight said:

Still not getting the love for Formula E. It's the shared 3rd Party chassis that does my head in. It's tantamount to a One Make series for cars from a manufacturer no-one has ever heard of !

I actually agree with you, I still much prefer F1 and consider Formula E boring.

But then, we are not the ones who decide where carmakers spend their racing money and they all seem to be flooding Formula E.

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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This will be  digression on the Formula E topic, If Geely wants to have either Lotus or Polestar to join they better make a move and firm up plans soon according to Sam Smith e-racing365 Ford is gearing up to join the circus. Ford has done what they wanted with Le Mans and the factory GT program is coming to an end. Fordvis now considering tieing up with an existing team. This year the non aligned teams are Dragon and Techeetah, next year Techeetah will become DS Techetah will Virgin will become non aligned but probably an Audi customer. Dragon was rumoured to be part of the Porsche project but the tie up  did collapse finds itself a stand alone player. Dragon appears to be the potential Ford team which would leave Virgin as the only customer team in the series in season 6. 

 

from http://e-racing365.com/formula-e/ford-begins-preparations-for-likely-formula-e-entry/

 

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Matt Prior take on Lotus future

https://www.pistonheads.com/regulars/blog/prior-convictions-the-lotus-position/37760

I had another read at the Auto New piece :

Quote

 Geely has approved two new sports cars. We will tell you what they are in five months, but both will come in 2020. Our last new car [the Evora] was in 2009 so it's time for a new one.

Does this mean that at least one if not both models will be seen in prototype guise at Goodwood this july?

Edited by NedaSay
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