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Scuffers

14,674 posts

161 months

[news] 
Saturday 6th October 2012 quote quote all
10 years ago, maybe, now? I think it's over.

Not suggesting it's all Dannyboys fault, it was already screwed, just on a slower death-spiral.

Dannyboy just accelerated their demise buy hocking them to the bank with a hopelessly wild plan that in all honestly, was just never going to pay off.

the days when the big OEM's had a place for Lotus are long gone...

RYH64E

5,071 posts

131 months

[news] 
Saturday 6th October 2012 quote quote all
Tuna said:
Regardless, you're forgetting it was a get big or die trying plan.
That's about right. They haven't got big in terms of sales (smaller from what I can see), and the debt built up during the 'get big' attempt will be a huge problem for a small manufacturer going forward. I don't know how the debt is structured, but if Lotus is responsible for all of it then I just can't see a successful outcome.

Tuna

4,805 posts

171 months

[news] 
Saturday 6th October 2012 quote quote all
RYH64E said:
That's about right. They haven't got big in terms of sales (smaller from what I can see), and the debt built up during the 'get big' attempt will be a huge problem for a small manufacturer going forward. I don't know how the debt is structured, but if Lotus is responsible for all of it then I just can't see a successful outcome.
The killer is, DRB came along 18 months before we were going to see the first results of the 'get big' plan - the new Esprit. The plan has absolutely died, but not because it failed to deliver. It never had the chance to deliver. For all that Bahar took all the limelight, there were still talented people working on the new cars, and Lotus' legendary ability to deliver when their backs were against the wall. That's how it was when the Elise arrived, and who would have bet on the guys from Hethel in '94?

Anyway, this is all far too negative. DRB can still get their st together, and have some cracking good cars to sell. If they can find the stability and focus on supporting the dealers, perhaps we will see some confidence returning to the market.

GAGA

51 posts

92 months

[news] 
Sunday 7th October 2012 quote quote all
Lotus has a great reputation (justified or not) when it comes to automotive engineering and sports cars, which has its roots in Lotus' successes in motorsports/racing. In order to create revenues it would be easy, with the existing know-how or with hiring additional staff/creating a new company/subsidiary of Group Lotus, to develop brake systems, clutches and transmissions, not only for Lotus' own models/cars but also for other carmakers. This would generate a nice and steady income. Beside of that, developing and offering own engines to other carmakers would also generate additional income. I'm thinking about a whole "engine family", with a four, a six and an eight cylinder engine, all compliant with the latest emission regulations world wide. There are lots of carmakers, especially in China, which would be happy to get a modern engine or get a licence for building a modern engine and using it in their cars. This would help to offset some of the development costs for the engines, which Lotus would also use in its own cars (just imagine to sell/licence several hundred thousand engines p.a. and a fee/profit of 100 quid per engine and don't forget that you could sell a fitting/appropiate transmission for the said engine(s), so this means additional revenues/incomes). Such a subsidiary could be called "Lotus Powertrain Technology". In addition to engines for cars and gearboxes/transmissions, this subsidiary could also build engines for other "non-automotive" applications, such as marine engines. The other subsidiary, which would develop and build brake systems and clutches, could be called "Lotus Friction Systems". In addition to that, there could be also rims, tires and also exhaust and emission systems from Lotus. These products could by produced by one subsidiary called "Lotus Perfomance Parts" (also turbochargers, (racing) seats, safety belts and suspension systems could be offered by this subsidiary) or via three different subsidiaries: "Lotus Wheels", "Lotus Tyres" (as this company name seems to exist already, it could also be called "Lotus Perfomance Tyres") and "Lotus Exhausts". Another subisidiary could be a "tuning company", which offers tuning for cars from other manufacturers, for instance Ford. The said subsidiary, called "Lotus Perfomance", could offer completly tuned versions of cars like the Ford Focus, equipped with Lotus parts (Lotus turbocharger, Lotus alloy rims/wheels, Lotus tyres, Lotus exhaust system, Lotus brakes, Lotus racing seats, Lotus suspension). Of course not only completly tuned cars, but also just "performance parts" for several car models. Furthermore, Lotus has expertise in fibreglass and could also offer "body-kits" for several models, for instance the mentioned Ford Focus and other cars which are popular among the "tuner crowd".
Another good idea would be to get a "banking and insurance" subsidiary ("Lotus Financial Services Ltd."). This would help to offer and make money with financial services, for instance leasing and financing offers for Lotus cars and insurance for Lotus cars and also other exotic/sports cars.)
This whole development of Group Lotus could help to also expand in other areas. The revenues from the mentioned possible "subsidiaries"/"divisions" could help to have a better funding for the car business. A healthier sports car business would help to offer other products, for instance motorcycles. Yes, I know this sounds very ambitious, but I'm not saying that this should be done as soon as possible or that this is a priority. I just see it as a possibility to use the brand image of Lotus to sell other products which are not far off from Lotus' brand image. (Lotus = sports cars.... Lotus = sporty motorcycles). And as more and more people ride bicycles, Lotus could also offer bicycles (city bicycles, electric bicycles, racing bicycles, (downhill) mountain bicycles). In addition to that, there are of course further possibilities to diversify more in order to be less dependent on the very volatile sports car business. I know this sounds crazy, but Lotus could also develop and build/sell forklifts under the Lotus brand. The engines could come from the subsidiary "Lotus Powertrain Technology". And what about "Lotus Sportswear" ? I'm not talking just about "Lotus" branded and overpriced "tat", but more stuff like racing overalls, helmets (motorsports and motorcycle), trainers (for motorsports,other sports and of course "fashion trainers") etc., things which are practical, fashionable and not overpriced.
While we're at it, what about "Lotus Go-Karts" and perhaps an own "Lotus Karting series"? (I don't know how profitable this would be, but I don't think it would be too expensive to develop/build and sell Lotus branded Karts and it might help to broaden the awareness for the Lotus brand at the young ones).

Of course, you might wonder: What about the cars? Well, I think the Esprit needs to be developed and launched as soon as possible. In addition, a completly "overhauled" Elise and Exige, read = same technical base, but completly different and fresh exterior design and not just a nip and tuck, an Evora convertible and as an additional model a strictly two-seater, based on the Evora, read = rebodied Evora with a more sexier design from an Italian design house (like Pininfarina or Bertone). The Elise and Exige, in their current forms, should be kept in the model line-up as long as possible with constant up-dates, just to keep customers and enthusiasts happy (just look for evidence at the Lotus 7, it's still selling. It was a big mistake to sell the Lotus Seven design/licence to Caterham.) Lotus should also look into developing a new "Lotus 7"-like car (perhaps Lotus should look into buying Westfield Sportscars.... no, I'm just kidding. Caterham would have been better, but this is too late, as it's owned by TF now, just to get the Lotus 7 back to Lotus in order to be able to claim to sell "the original Lotus 7" and not a just kit-car inspired by the Lotus 7 , like Westfield and others. But too late is too late.)

Scuffers

14,674 posts

161 months

[news] 
Monday 8th October 2012 quote quote all
Wow!

That's one massive rose tinted pipe dream!

Have you any idea how hard it is to develop an engine from scratch?
Same for gearboxes, brake system, etc.

Lotus have no capability to do any of this, and even if you go back 20 years, they could not do this, hence why they buy in this stuff.

(Let's not forget the last engine they designed, the V8, was a complete dog on several levels).

incased you have not noticed, everything has gone electronic, DSG gearboxes, direct injection engines, stability control systems, etc. Something lotus have zero expertise or experience with and have to buy in.

People keep going on about VW, take a close took at VAG. Group, they seem to have inhouse capability to do everything to could ever want, what would they buy lotus for?
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BibsTLF

753 posts

94 months

[news] 
Monday 8th October 2012 quote quote all
By a long shot, the V8 isn't the last engine Lotus designed. I'm trying to find my notes on their engine work but the omnivore, range extender etc are are in-house and at one point a Lotus designed engine was built built at the rate of 1 every 10 seconds.

GAGA

51 posts

92 months

[news] 
Monday 8th October 2012 quote quote all
Scuffers said:
Wow!

That's one massive rose tinted pipe dream!

Have you any idea how hard it is to develop an engine from scratch?
Same for gearboxes, brake system, etc.

Lotus have no capability to do any of this, and even if you go back 20 years, they could not do this, hence why they buy in this stuff.

(Let's not forget the last engine they designed, the V8, was a complete dog on several levels).

incased you have not noticed, everything has gone electronic, DSG gearboxes, direct injection engines, stability control systems, etc. Something lotus have zero expertise or experience with and have to buy in.

People keep going on about VW, take a close took at VAG. Group, they seem to have inhouse capability to do everything to could ever want, what would they buy lotus for?
It's not a "pipe dream", it might be ambitious, but it can be realised. I didn't say that everyhting can be done at
the same time. On the contrary, it could have been done in the last 20 years. At least, it could have been started
20 years ago. I know, back in the 1990s Lotus was struggling and Proton bought them in 1996, but Proton was funded
by the Malaysian government which means that they had the financial means to fund such a strategy. But what did
Proton do? They also bought the Italian motorcycle manufacturer MV Augusta/Cagiva. But were there any "synergies" between
Lotus and MV Augusta/Cagiva? No ! I always wondered why they didn't use MV Augustas/Cagivas expertise and existing products to build/develop a Lotus motorbike. This would have made sense, but this was not the reason to buy MV Augusta/Cagiva. The official reasoning was to "gain" or "acquire" further expertise. Yeah, this worked great! Proton did never build a motorbike in Malaysia or elsewhere and also Lotus did not benefit from the fact that Proton also owned MV Augusta/Cagiva. You have to bear in mind that Proton payed 70 million Euro back in 2003 for 57,75% of MV Augusta, just to sell it to someone else for just one Euro four years later. What a great investment !

Oh, do I have to remember you that AP Racing was for sale back in 2000, after it went into administration? Did anybody
in UK care about this? Did Proton care about this? No, no one cared. The Italian brake manufacturer "Brembo" bought AP Racing for just $43 million back then. Proton could have easily bought AP Racing and create the mentioned "Lotus brake division". But they didn't do.

Do I have to remember you that Cosworth changed many hands and was split up and was for sale many times? Did anybody
in UK care about this? Did Proton care about this? No, no one of these cared. Two blokes, one American (Gerald Forsythe) and one Australian (Kevin Kalkhoven) bought the remains, created Cosworth Group. Cosworth Group would have complemented Group Lotus really well, but again Proton didn't even think about it. Lotus could have benefited from Cosworth by using Cosworths expertise in engines and developing own engines.

Do I have to remember you that Lola Group went into administration this year and is more or less for sale? Unfortunately,Lotus has other problems at the moment, but this again would be a chance to "acquire" further expertise and to broaden the business of Group Lotus.

In UK and in Europe, there are many small to mid-sized companies in the automotive industry, mainly in the supplier sector. We're not talking about purchase prices of several hundred millions for such companies, more in the area of 10
to 100 million (as I said, AP Racing was sold for just $43 million, which would have been much cheaper and more senseful/reasonable than buying a stake of MV Augusta/Cagiva.)
But instead of following such "buy and build" strategy for Group Lotus, Proton acted like a headless chicken.

Beside of that, there are things which could have been done without such a buy and build strategy. Please correct me if I'm wrong, but Lotus could easily develop with the existing expertise seats and offer them to other carmakers and as
aftermarket products. As far as I remember, Lotus Engineering USA is currently working on front seats which wheigh less and cost less to produce than normal/existing seats.
Furthermore, Lotus could team up with other smaller/specialised automotive supplier companies and develop in conjunction with these Lotus branded products, so that less "in-house" expertise at Group Lotus is needed in these new product areas at the beginning and that more expertise in these fields/areas can be collected/gained at Group Lotus during the collaboration with such companies. The said partner companies could not only benefit of beeing associated with Lotus, but also through "additional" business/revenues by co-developing, building and selling Lotus branded products (joint-ventures could be formed and profits could be shared between Group Lotus and the other companies in question.)

Thorburn

1,392 posts

80 months

[news] 
Monday 8th October 2012 quote quote all
GAGA said:
While we're at it, what about "Lotus Go-Karts" and perhaps an own "Lotus Karting series"? (I don't know how profitable this would be, but I don't think it would be too expensive to develop/build and sell Lotus branded Karts and it might help to broaden the awareness for the Lotus brand at the young ones).
Already exists: http://lotuskarts.com/

Built by Wildkart in Italy.

While it's just a licensing agreement they look pretty smart.

WayneB

176 posts

113 months

[news] 
Tuesday 9th October 2012 quote quote all
Scuffers said:
10 years ago, maybe, now? I think it's over.

Not suggesting it's all Dannyboys fault, it was already screwed, just on a slower death-spiral.

Dannyboy just accelerated their demise buy hocking them to the bank with a hopelessly wild plan that in all honestly, was just never going to pay off.

the days when the big OEM's had a place for Lotus are long gone...
I dont agree that Lotus was already screwed before Bahar appeared, in fact under MJK Lotus had actually managed to return to profit, admittedly a modest one but profit all the same.

I agree the plan was for those on the outside looking in appeared to be a stupid one, but has anyone stopped to consider that a few top key Proton/Lotus people involved actually may have greatly benefitted from it financially?

As for Lotus no longer having a place, many automobile manufacturers in the far East seem to currently place value in the companies engineering expertise.


Scuffers

14,674 posts

161 months

[news] 
Tuesday 9th October 2012 quote quote all
proffit is an interesting term, wasn't that just after Proton wipes out the outstanding debts?

Look, the plan was on the back of Evora sales, money to develop the next car (Esprit?) would come in..

the reality is that the Evora has just not sold in anything like the numbers required.

then Dannyboy entered the scene (and yes, I am aware of the rumours over some Proton management...)

C1RVY

2,250 posts

150 months

[news] 
Tuesday 9th October 2012 quote quote all
They need to crack on with this new Exige!

Apart from the fact that I want one, they've around £18M waiting from current orders alone. And what a great place to start rebuilding your car company from. The reviews couldn't have been better.

Come on Lotus, we can't bear another TVR incident, or we really will all be driving German banghead

Scuffers

14,674 posts

161 months

[news] 
Tuesday 9th October 2012 quote quote all
C1RVY said:
They need to crack on with this new Exige!
they need to pay some bills first....

Ian974

1,854 posts

86 months

[news] 
Wednesday 10th October 2012 quote quote all
C1RVY said:
They need to crack on with this new Exige!

Apart from the fact that I want one, they've around £18M waiting from current orders alone. And what a great place to start rebuilding your car company from. The reviews couldn't have been better.

Come on Lotus, we can't bear another TVR incident, or we really will all be driving German banghead
Its an interesting point, and it's not the answer to all the companys problems, but the maths of the new Exige selling certainly helps. At £60k (I think that's roughly what it is?), every 17 cars sold brings in another £1m. If they start getting the ordered cars out it could definitely help.

andy_s

9,890 posts

146 months

[news] 
Wednesday 10th October 2012 quote quote all
Scuffers said:
C1RVY said:
They need to crack on with this new Exige!
they need to pay some bills first....
They need to get some income to pay their bills...

Scuffers

14,674 posts

161 months

[news] 
Wednesday 10th October 2012 quote quote all
andy_s said:
Scuffers said:
C1RVY said:
They need to crack on with this new Exige!
they need to pay some bills first....
They need to get some income to pay their bills...
and how are they going to do that with zero production?

Chicken <> egg


BibsTLF

753 posts

94 months

[news] 
Wednesday 10th October 2012 quote quote all
As per the independent article, their income for Aug alone was £45m. They're not skint, just have a lot of bills they're trying to reduce!

RYH64E

5,071 posts

131 months

[news] 
Wednesday 10th October 2012 quote quote all
BibsTLF said:
As per the independent article, their income for Aug alone was £45m. They're not skint, just have a lot of bills they're trying to reduce!
£45m for August? I don't think so. The £45m figure may be for 2011 (in total, not per month), and I can't see it being anything like that in 2012.

According to this article http://skiddmark.com/2012/10/is-drb-hicom-fiddling... UK new car registrations were:

2010 577
2011 329
2012 120 ytd

Add in export sales and it still doesn't add up to much.

C1RVY

2,250 posts

150 months

[news] 
Wednesday 10th October 2012 quote quote all
Doesn't that show just how valuable this new Exige is to them.

350 orders, & no-ones driven it yet!!!!

Scuffers

14,674 posts

161 months

[news] 
Wednesday 10th October 2012 quote quote all
C1RVY said:
Doesn't that show just how valuable this new Exige is to them.

350 orders, & no-ones driven it yet!!!!
trouble is, they need to sell 10x that number EVERY YEAR... (as well as the same again in Evora's etc)
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