free hit
counters
Future of Lotus - Page 4 - Lotus / Motoring / Cars Chat - The Lotus Forums Jump to content
Advantage

Future of Lotus

Recommended Posts

Fair one - I don't like Jimmy choo or Louis Vuitton either!!!!!

Just don't get the big flash suv thing at all...........might as well be diamonte encrusted false teeth........

It's all about lotus selling what the market will buy......there is no doubt the market - so they need to grab some of it.....

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Upgrade today to remove Google ads and support TLF.

It's down to different ideas and takes on how Lotus should proceed in its future.

I'd rather Lotus focus on the lightweight British built sports cars they've been making since the 1950s. Be the small/mid size manufacturer they've always been. Be the maverick company Chapman started. Stay alive and thrive doing what they do best despite the modern trends of consolidation & mass market production in vast numbers. I believe it's possible with focus and good management.

If it can't do that, end the company with honour. Death is better than disgrace. eg: Team Lotus.

The maylasian owners and others might disagree.

Wow this is completely out of touch with the reality, we are not in the 60's anymore.

 

Lotus is  pretty much a stand alone entity  that cannot truly rely on its parent company to codevelop products. The rulebooks to manufacture cars to be sold globally is so stringent that even groups like FCA are looking for new partnership in order to lower the cost.  Lotus at their own scale are doing their utmost to ensure the company survival by bringing to market a product that could broaden their appeal in order to ensure survival.

 

"end the company with honour..." WTF! What about the soon to be 1000 staff whose livelyhood does depend on the company survival not to mention small their suppliers.

Edited by NedaSay
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Has the Cayenne  made the 911 GT3 a worse car? Would there still be a 911 if Porsche hadn't buil the Cayenne? Would the Porsche clan own more than 50% of VW if there hadn't been a Cayenne? 

 

BTW, I wouldn't buy any SUV! At least until I'm 70. :help:

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well the old Porsche/Volkswagen situation isn't that clear I dont think. One of the reasons why Porsche got into trouble in the first place was because they had spent a considerable amount of the 'family silverware' in trying a hostile takeover of VW by secretly buying VW shares and paying over the odds for them. The Cayenne was the car that saved them, no doubt about it. From what I can gather, VW now own all of Porsche, but its not that clear who owns who, what, and why. VW is the parent company, that is clear.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The attempted VW takeover was after the Cayenne. In fact, the Cayenne fianced it.

 

Howevver, it is completely one of the most widespread mistakes to believe the takeover failed. True, in the End VW bought Porsche Motorcars, but the Porsche / Piech families in turn became the majority stakeholder in VW! 

 

I don't think they see it as a failure at all. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

VW maybe the parent company but it is owned by the Porsche Family.

 

VW group cannot really dictate anything to Porsche, they'll just make sure that Porsche and Audi don't go to hard at one another except at Le Mans. Rumourmongers will say that the stories sending Audi to F1 solely exist to give an exit to Audi so that Porsche can rule supreme at Le Mans without damaging Audi's image. Porsche will also avoid getting to close to products that could upset VW group, but in all honesty over than the baby Boxster that could have done damage to the TT sales there's little risk of overlap.

Yes Q5 and Maccan share platforms and customer base but Maccan won't be accused of stealing Q5 buyers. 

 

Besides as far as part sharing goes, Porsche have always had a significant number of VW parts beneath the skin. Since the 914, 924 malaise era it's been pretty much the perfectly symbiotic relationship. 

 

Something that JMG cannot really hope to get from Proton but that he could find at Toyota/Lexus.

Edited by NedaSay

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

http://www.topgear.com/uk/car-news/lotus-suv-latest-news-2015-07-03

 

 

As he launches the most Lotus-ish Lotus ever, the super-light andfighting-fit 3-Eleven, Lotus boss Jean-Marc Gales takes some time to justify to TopGear what must be the least Lotus-ish Lotus ever: the upcoming, Chinese-built SUV crossover.

The SUV will be the result of a joint venture Lotus signed last year with Goldstar Heavy Industrial of Quanzhou city. Mind you, if it ever goes on sale in Britain, it won't be until about 2022. So if you furiously judge this a Lotus sell-out, you still have several years for your anger to subside.

Of course Gales believes that making an SUV will bolster profit. Building an SUV is standard operating procedure for a sports-car company these days, right?

And in most of its 63 years, Lotus has shown the opposite of profit. But Gales reckons an SUV will do something else too: improve the sports cars.

Seriously, how can an SUV match Lotus's values? "If Colin Chapman was alive I believe he would have done one," says Gales. "It will be the size of a Porsche Macan but only 1600kg, and will be the most agile and fastest of that class on a track. Lamborghini is doing a SUV like that in their segment, we can do it in our segment."

Gales repeatedly stresses the weight issue. "It's logical for us to make one in the Macan segment - the rest are all two tonnes, even a BMW X3. They take a normal car platform with big tyres and brakes and transmission. We will use a four-cylinder engine."

That'll be Lotus's existing supercharged Toyota-derived unit, though a diesel will be needed for Europe. "We'll take 250kg out, so we can have smaller brakes, we can use Evora seats," Gales adds.

We always thought the appeal of SUVs is they feel heavy and robust. Still, let's give him the benefit of the doubt. Maybe a chink of a sales opening exists for something lighter.

The vehicle will be Lotus-branded but built at a new joint-venture factory in China, aimed at the vast and growing Chinese market for crossovers.

Manufacture there is an exercise in red tape. The procedure is that the authorities grant a manufacturing licence only after the prototype has been built and the business plan written. Those two things are happening now, Gales says.

He adds sales of the SUV should begin in China at the end of 2019 or in 2020. If that goes well, it might come here afterwards. "We have protected the package and technology for Europe."

It originates here too. "It's being designed and engineered and prototyped at Hethel," he says. "We are evaluating two full-scale design models at the moment. They are very sporty and they look very Lotus. They have a modern Lotus nose, and a hint of the 1974 four-seat Elite [pictured above] on the side. They look lightweight."

But Lotus doesn't only make cars noted for light weight and brilliant handling. It has also traditionally been noted for making cars that aren't entirely watertight, that have untrustworthy electrics and wonky panel gaps.

For a five-door SUV as opposed to a little roadster, this sort of boring housekeeping will be utterly vital.

I put this to Gales and he is eager to agree. He points at the door seals on an Exige. "They drive me crazy," he spits. "We have just hired a new chief engineer for body and closures. We are working with the suppliers to make those seals very differently. We have a new electrical chief too."

He takes me around the Evora 400, pointing out the places where the finish and ergonomics have been dramatically improved. And, with admirable candour, the ones where they still aren't good enough.

"Our warranty costs are now just one-third of what they were two years ago," he claims.

So if Lotus can get the quality of the SUV to any sort of acceptable level, the sports cars are bound to gain. But he goes further. "We can use parts, such as climate control units, in the SUV which will be better for the next generation of sports cars."

I say that an air-conditioner for a five-seat SUV will be too big and heavy for a two-seat sports car. He counters: "We could use two small ones in the SUV. We can use new instrument panel parts from the SUV in the sports cars. They won't make the sports cars one gram heavier."

At which point, TopGear.com commenters, you'll point out that we've heard all sorts of promises from Lotus bosses before. And they've often been unfulfilled.

Still, Gales isn't only a proper petrolhead but a veteran of the grown-up motor industry, with high-level experience in Mercedes-Benz, VW and PSA. He joined Lotus in May 2014 and since then the changes he promised have mostly happened. On time.

He has improved Lotus's manufacturing, quality and distribution, so the cars are selling much faster these days. Lotus's wholesale deliveries were 1296 in the year to March 2014. In the year to this March they were 55 percent up, at 2015 cars (a nice coincidental number).

Even so, the idea of making a Lotus away from its traditional sports-car comfort zone seems like a watered-down version of the previous ultra-ambitious line-up proposed by previous boss. Is this just Bahar-lite?

"No. We will remain a sports car company," states Gales. He promises those cars will always be built at Hethel, too. "We have done the 3-Eleven, the Evora 400."

And there's more, coming at a pace Lotus would once have found dizzying. "The [2017] Exige will be faster, and have bigger wheels and brakes, even though it has better air-conditioning and infotainment, and lower sills for easier entry. The Elise will have a restyled front clamshell." This change will be made by a cheaper but better manufacturing process. 

"These cars will keep getting faster and lighter," continues Gales. "There will be an Evora 400Roadster, with twin carbon fibre roof panels that stow in the front and weigh just 3kg each."

He comes back to the 3-Eleven and grins. "I also have a plan for a 4-Eleven in two years..."

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There's going to be some serious fapping over this bit: "There will be an Evora 400 Roadster, with twin carbon fibre roof panels that stow in the front and weigh just 3kg each."

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Correct me if I'm wrong, but wasn't the Evora always designed with a roadster variant in mind, i.e. the roof plays almost no part in the structural stability, torsional stiffness ect.? In that case, could we be looking at a roadster that only weighs around, say, 10-15Kg more than the standard Evora 400? That would be an incredible accomplishment!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That was a fascinating read.

Elise seats in an SUV. Definitely going to be a very "Lotus" taken on the concept then.

Iirc from the factory tour, all current cars from Lotus are based on a roadster design... or maybe I just heard what I wanted to hear...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Elise seats in an SUV.

[pedant] Evora seats [/pedant]

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I stand corrected!

 

Even so, this will be a very different proposition from the usual.

 

I wonder if you will have to move the seats back in the SUV to get in and out?  :P

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I stand corrected!

Even so, this will be a very different proposition from the usual.

I wonder if you will have to move the seats back in the SUV to get in and out? :P

Think of the weight savings if they remove the seat sliders and make the doors a fixed part of the tub...

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I really like the sound of what JMG is doing.  I know everyone wants to see a new Esprit (me included) but to hear of a new Elise/Exige is great news.

 

That said I totally missed JMG on the Lotus stand at Goodwood.  It wasn't until I looked back at my photos of the 311 that I saw he was in them (along with some bloke who looked like Brad Pitt!) 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Tomorrow is the first big launch under JMG tutelage... time to see what is what...  Considering things have been ramped up nicely from Geneva to Goodwood I'm hoping for something really good.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Fresh of the EDP24 website

 

Lotus did let go some 285 employees a few months ago. According to this article Group Lotus is in the process of hiring 200 staff, and 20 apprentices are going to be added to the roster. So we are almost already back to the number of employees pre JMG and if is plan is successful the company will get even more employees by year's end.

 

2017/18 financial year objective is now confirmed : 4000 cars. 

Edited by NedaSay

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Very positive indeed.

A great way of keeping labour rates down during this revitalisation period of Lotus... Would be nice to see more UK companies doing this instead of just outsourcing to cheaper labour markets.

Article suggests recruitment is for the Evora 400... Teaching apprentices, ramping up production and hopefully keeping a good grip on quality control...

This strategy has its risks but could be a master stroke in Lotus's history. JMG continues to impress

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I really like the sound of what JMG is doing.  I know everyone wants to see a new Esprit (me included) but to hear of a new Elise/Exige is great news.

 

That said I totally missed JMG on the Lotus stand at Goodwood.  It wasn't until I looked back at my photos of the 311 that I saw he was in them (along with some bloke who looked like Brad Pitt!)

Which one??

post-15194-0-57770500-1438416361.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

http://www.roadandtrack.com/new-cars/future-cars/news/a26263/lotus-elise-returns-to-us-2020/

 

So a brand new SUV (Chinese gov approval pending) in 2019 and a new Elise (on a new platform presumably) in 2020 after a refresh of the mark II in 2018!! Gosh the factory floor and offices must be busy. Even if the SUV is to be manufactured in China and numerous parts are going to be sub-contracted to hopefully first tier component suppliers, Hethel is ahead 

 

Question for the CEO...  We know that lotus are in the finally phase of vetting the SUV prototype so are there any possibility for Lotus to showcase the prototype at a Chinese Autoshow sometime next year

Edited by NedaSay

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I stand corrected!

Even so, this will be a very different proposition from the usual.

I wonder if you will have to move the seats back in the SUV to get in and out? :P

Twisted Land Rover Defenders use similar Recaro's..

JMG is onto something... I think he's saying all the right things, just hope his ideas are properly executed...

post-15194-0-96002900-1438996404.jpg

post-15194-0-83291800-1438996419.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If anything JMG is reestablishing a ton of high street cred.

 

The speech is poised, analytical, candid... As many auto journos pointed out. People realize that in truth is not doing anything the company hasn't done before, the new SUV will take a lot from APX and the Toyota Venza lightening project Lotus Engineering worked on a few years ago. Therefore the numbers he's mentioning make sense they are in line with the calculation made back then and he has the technology available today. He also knows that even if the projection do go a bit awry - some are rethinking the car boom in China, cause the government is finally cracking down on emissions and is seriously making it difficult for most people to get a car- Lotus should still be able to sell about 4000-7000 SUV other there and with a car that package protected for Europe (+ the middle east, ASEAN countries and ANZ) he should be able to sell a few hundreds with very limited exposure on the company's finances as the project is pretty much entirely financed by Goldstar. Which means that he can have a team also developing a brand new Elise pretty much in parallel.     

 

He's also true to a certain way of doing things: divulging very little and letting the cars do the talking after albeit with a certain social media blended into the mix. Now it would be great if they could be on top of everything and have the website and social media on the same update pace...     

Edited by NedaSay

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I was just thinking about the Lotus Sales figures for this year. I think they're aiming for 3000 units, but what effect will the Evora have?

 

They stopped N/A production Summer 2014 and S production Spring 2015 to make way for production of the 400. As far as I can make out, it will be Q4 / 2015 before any 400s get delivered, so that's quite a gap in supply to bridge. With the Elise and Exige models largely unchanged and 3-11 deliveries probably starting Q1 / 2016, do we still think that Lotus can still shift 3000 units this term, or will that milestone have to wait until 2016?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@@@nedasay, aurouge:

 

sorry, but getting rid of employees and hiring People again in a short time span might be econ. clever but for the People it is defin. NOT - when we praise handbuild cars we all should think of the People that build our cars - they are no robots so I am happy for every Person that is hired (maybe hired "again") but "real" Cleverness in my eyes is to Keep your workforce even if you are in some Trouble by trying other steps like cut down wages for a certain period with the Chance to get the "cut down" part back when the Company is in safer regions etc.

 

just my 2p

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Cutting wages upsets the entire staff, letting some people go upsets only some of them. Once you start cutting wages you are on a slippery slope that goes only one way. Morale slips, quality slips due to a lack of morale, then the product slips. Plus you have the entire work force that starts to look over its shoulder and think 'time to start looking for other work'. Each member of a workforce has commitments financially, and once you start and cut their salary, it forces them to look elsewhere.

 

Once those skilled people go, you cant just replace them. It takes years to train someone up to the quality required, and that costs a shed load of cash. However hard it looks, letting some go is a much better way of doing it than upsetting an entire workforce. However loyal a workforce is, real life always takes priority.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


×
×
  • Create New...