Lotus: Dead weight lifted or dead man walking?
We investigate whether Lotus is back on track in the post-Bahar era
FoS sculpture was well received
Then the company this week opened the doors on its flagship Regent St merchandising store in London. A £333 car coat might not be high on your shopping list, but the kit is mainly stylish and the shop well appointed. Let's not forget that Ferrari makes around a quarter of its profit from its stores.
The racing is going great guns, meanwhile. It might be mostly in name only, but when the Lotus F1 team is now regularly making the podium and currently sits third in the championship ahead of Ferrari, it's got to have a positive effect on the global perception of the company.
This is the car that's promised to accelerate faster to 60mph than the much-praised supercharged S but record just 55g/km of CO2 (around 120mpg).
So all this must be having a terrific effect on sales, right? Er no. Up to the end of June this year, Lotus had sold just 82 cars in the UK. That's down from 218 the year before, a fall of over 200 per cent. Even Saab sold more than that, and it's been defunct since December.
So what's the problem? We put that question to Lotus, who then sent it all the way to new owners DRB-Hicom in Malaysia, who declined to comment.
Let's hope the Evora convertible, expected to be revealed in a month or so, can go some way to halting the decline.
Anyway, how is that "an Elan"? The (original) Elan was probably roughly on a par with the current Exige S, price-wise.
I'm a tad concerned that the impending range is merging into 1, they have roughly the same tub and comparable driving dynamics repackaged too many times (Elise/Exige/Evora, all hard top, all cabrio), that's 6 cars when demand is probably only for 2 (Hot Elise, well specced Evora). How much money could they save if they made just 2 cars and built the business model around that ? Have a 'skunkworks' (turnipworks ? - part of their engineering arm) to do customisation for wealthy clients who want 1 off special stuff, encourage owners to use the lovely new track there more often, drop dreams of selling thousands, focus on what they're good at !
I wish them every success, I really do.
"We have 1162 orders to fill [189 Elise, 156 Elise S, 350 Exige S, 182 Evora and 250 Evora GTE models] - which is incredible."
So? Are they producing those cars he was taking about?
I am amazed and dismayed by the sales figure of 82
Unfortunately, unless DRB-Hicom push though with Bahar's strategy, I think lotus have no chance. Porsche have the volume sports car market sewn up with higher quality products. Ferrari and Mclaren have moved the super car game on. All lotus have is a 16 year old low volume sports car platform, and a the Evora, that no one seems to like that much.
Virtually zero sales and money coming in, a big bill to swallow to get a decent product to market, and no guarantee regaining that investment when the product is on the market. If it was me, I'd cut my losses. Sincerely hope that DRB-Hicom don't...