1 2
bravenrace
bravenrace Dork
10/2/10 9:57 a.m.
wcelliot wrote: For me the Elise was an inferior car to my V8 transplant S1 Esprit and was definitely not worth the $35k+ that they cost....

And as anything more than a track toy, inferior to a lot of other similarly priced new car offerings as well. Which illustrates exactly why they needed to change their business model. I love light cars too, but I didn't buy a new Elise either. So all of those here with these strong opinions have done absolutely nothing to support Lotus, but yet feel justified in complaining that they are changing, not to "die", but to survive.

Javelin
Javelin SuperDork
10/2/10 11:02 a.m.

You anti-complainers are missing the point...

Lotus' mantra has always been simple and light. A near 2-ton, hybrid car with electronic gizmos is neither simple nor light. The Evora showed what the future of Lotus could be. Supercar speed/handling with excellent reliability because of lighter weight than the competition and a simple drivetrain. The Evora is an excellent car, and if I had the means to purchase a car like that I would certainly consider it over a Cayman/911, California, etc.

Besides being butt-ugly and way too similar looking, all of the "new" Loti are extremely heavy and complicated. They look and feel nothing like a real Lotus. You could have slapped Lambo badges on those and the public would not have blinked. Hell, the new Lambo is Lotus-light at 2200Lbs, why can't the Lotus be?!???

Giant Purple Snorklewacker
Giant Purple Snorklewacker SuperDork
10/2/10 12:42 p.m.
bravenrace wrote: So all of those here with these strong opinions have done absolutely nothing to support Lotus

My strong opinion is that they are the only game in town at what the currently offer and have had strong sales for the size of the market they sell to. I want them to thrive with the current paradigm because I want "Lighter is better" to flourish. They have created a very passionate group of enthusiasts like myself who would love to support them by buying a track package Exige S off the showroom floor but can't really swing it. I am relegated to dreaming of a fully depreciated one. The simple fact that it is the one-and-only new car I'd consider buying new IF I had the scratch says to me that they had awesome success at winning hearts and minds. If they could offer something guys like me could afford they would clean house.

I view the move to posh, heavy vehicles that I still can't afford as failure. I'm not hating - I'm disappointed.

TOZOVR
TOZOVR Reader
10/2/10 1:46 p.m.
Javelin wrote: You anti-complainers are missing the point... Lotus' mantra has always been simple and light. A near 2-ton, hybrid car with electronic gizmos is neither simple nor light. The Evora showed what the future of Lotus could be. Supercar speed/handling with excellent reliability because of lighter weight than the competition and a simple drivetrain. The Evora is an excellent car, and if I had the means to purchase a car like that I would certainly consider it over a Cayman/911, California, etc. Besides being butt-ugly and way too similar looking, all of the "new" Loti are extremely heavy and complicated. They look and feel nothing like a real Lotus. You could have slapped Lambo badges on those and the public would not have blinked. Hell, the new Lambo is Lotus-light at 2200Lbs, why can't the Lotus be?!???

So they oughtta stop building cars then?

alfadriver
alfadriver SuperDork
10/2/10 4:58 p.m.
Javelin wrote: You anti-complainers are missing the point... Lotus' mantra has always been simple and light. A near 2-ton, hybrid car with electronic gizmos is neither simple nor light. The Evora showed what the future of Lotus could be. Supercar speed/handling with excellent reliability because of lighter weight than the competition and a simple drivetrain. The Evora is an excellent car, and if I had the means to purchase a car like that I would certainly consider it over a Cayman/911, California, etc. Besides being butt-ugly and way too similar looking, all of the "new" Loti are extremely heavy and complicated. They look and feel nothing like a real Lotus. You could have slapped Lambo badges on those and the public would not have blinked. Hell, the new Lambo is Lotus-light at 2200Lbs, why can't the Lotus be?!???

And if not enough people buy said cars to sustain a company, then what? This isn't charity, even if the owners are in a socialist country.

You'd rather see no Lotus at all?

Eric

alfadriver
alfadriver SuperDork
10/2/10 5:15 p.m.

BTW- about my rather course reply- it seems as if few of you actually own previously owned Lotii, right? I know some of you do....

OTOH, I have 4 vintage Alfas. Tell me Alfa 2010 is even remotely Alfa 1959 or 1974, I can deal with it.

For that matter, Alfa 1950-1985 bears little resemblence to Alfa 1919-1939, and people complain about that, too.

Alfa and Lotus need to sell cars that can sustain them as a company. You wonder why Ford sells so many rather boring Fusions and F150's? We sustain and make money.

It's the reality of business.

Javelin
Javelin SuperDork
10/2/10 5:39 p.m.

Ford still sells Fords, affordable cars for the masses. Alfa still sells Alfa's, semi-affordable lux/GT cars that have style in spades.

Pontiac used to sell unique, exciting product with strong performance. Once saddled with the TransPort/Montana, G3, G5, and Torrent they sold more cars and then they died.

Saturn used to sell extremely unique vehicles in a different manner, then GM took them corporate, they sold more cars, and then they died.

Plymouth used to sell Dodge's with unique styling and unique packages, usually more stylish or better performing than their siblings. They invented the Neon, Prowler, and others. Then Dodge stole their designs for corporate, made them a badge only, they sold more cars, and then they died.

Hummer used to make vehicles exclusively for the military market. Then they sold re-bodied Chevy pickups, they sold more cars, and then they died. Now the military buys from someone else.

Do you see the trend yet????!?!?!?

kreb
kreb Dork
10/2/10 6:44 p.m.
Hell, the new Lambo is Lotus-light at 2200Lbs, why can't the Lotus be?!???

Actually that's a one-off, made of all sorts of exotica which would probably cost half a mil to recreate, so I call irrelevant on the comparison.

oldsaw
oldsaw SuperDork
10/2/10 8:28 p.m.
Javelin wrote: Ford still sells Fords, affordable cars for the masses. Alfa still sells Alfa's, semi-affordable lux/GT cars that have style in spades. Pontiac used to sell unique, exciting product with strong performance. Once saddled with the TransPort/Montana, G3, G5, and Torrent they sold more cars and then they died. Saturn used to sell extremely unique vehicles in a different manner, then GM took them corporate, they sold more cars, and then they died. Plymouth used to sell Dodge's with unique styling and unique packages, usually more stylish or better performing than their siblings. They invented the Neon, Prowler, and others. Then Dodge stole their designs for corporate, made them a badge only, they sold more cars, and then they died. Hummer used to make vehicles exclusively for the military market. Then they sold re-bodied Chevy pickups, they sold more cars, and then they died. Now the military buys from someone else. Do you see the trend yet????!?!?!?

The trend you refer to is the abject failure of GM and Chrysler. Ford succeeds because of a better business plan and better products.

This applies to Lotus, how?

Javelin
Javelin SuperDork
10/2/10 9:11 p.m.

Okay, the same story can be applied to AMC, TVR, Oldsmobile, and arguably Porsche (as they are now no longer independent).

The point is, using your brand's image/reputation to build more quantity always ends up in disaster. If you make toasters really well, but you can sell more lawnmowers, and you abandon toasters you are no longer toaster-master, you are crappy lawnmower-maker. Lotus is going from simple/light incredible cars to heavy/complicated/stupid/ugly cars and they will not survive it. Might as well have launched it as a different brand...

Jensenman
Jensenman SuperDork
10/3/10 9:38 a.m.

Over the years, Lotus built some of the world's finest sports cars, thanks to Colin Chapman. (The man was brilliant but a real cad, that's a subject for another thread.)

Like Enzo Ferrari, he saw road cars as a way of generating income to build sports cars, but he also saw 3rd party engineering as an income generator. During his life, Lotus had a big piece in the development of both the Jensen Healey and the DeLorean along with other smaller projects. After his death, this trend continued. Lotus designed the ZR1 Corvette engine and the GM Ecotec among other projects and along the way continued to build some of the most exciting sports cars on the planet.

So Lotus has never really 'had' to build cars to survive, unlike GM etc. BTW, GM has long had a habit of buying smaller companies for access to their technology, the way they bought a chunk of Fuji so they could license Subaru's AWD. That's why they bought Lotus a while back, for access to the active suspension technology which while interesting sort of wound up in the automotive dustbin. Lotus got tossed from buyer to buyer over the years (sort of like Jeep) and wound up with Proton.

So now that the Elise's release in the US has heightened awareness of the brand, someone at Proton saw ringgit signs and decided to pimp out the brand name. In so doing, this will kill off the Lotus we all know and love. I only hope they don't ruin the brand so bad that it can't be sold and resurrected again.

ReverendDexter
ReverendDexter Dork
10/3/10 10:45 a.m.
Javelin wrote: Pontiac used to sell unique, exciting product with strong performance. Once saddled with the TransPort/Montana, G3, G5, and Torrent they sold more cars and then they died. Saturn used to sell extremely unique vehicles in a different manner, then GM took them corporate, they sold more cars, and then they died. Plymouth used to sell Dodge's with unique styling and unique packages, usually more stylish or better performing than their siblings. They invented the Neon, Prowler, and others. Then Dodge stole their designs for corporate, made them a badge only, they sold more cars, and then they died. Hummer used to make vehicles exclusively for the military market. Then they sold re-bodied Chevy pickups, they sold more cars, and then they died. Now the military buys from someone else.

This. It's happening with Jeep now, too, and I'd say it's happening to Subaru.

I'd love to buy a Lotus, but I'm not in the boat that can afford a $40k+ car. If I were to buy a new car, it'd be in the sub-$30k range, and preferably on the low side of $20k. If Lotus wants to up their production, why not build a car that sells for Camry money? There's a wide-open market for low-to-no option cars right now (even if it is small), why not try to take advantage of that? I'm sure there's 10,000 of us here in the US that would take a lightweight 4-cylinder RWD 2+2 coupe with crazy-good suspension over the current "sporty" offerings in that price range.

alfadriver
alfadriver SuperDork
10/3/10 11:21 a.m.
Javelin wrote: Ford still sells Fords, affordable cars for the masses. Alfa still sells Alfa's, semi-affordable lux/GT cars that have style in spades.

Alfas are not only about style. That's my point.

You think they are, when Alfisti like me know that it has been otherwise for a LONG time.

Alfa Romeo now isn't even close to what Alfa was in 1974, when our youngest car was born. All current Alfas are re-modeled cars from the Fiat Spa line- the 8C is a Maserati, the MiTo is a Fiat, as are most of the rest of the current Alfas. Current Alfas are not Alfas that I'm passionate about. And I will tell a dealer that, since my wife would like a new Alfa.

Lotus isn't what you want it to be... deal with it.

Yea, it sucks, but- it's about selling new cars. If you don't make money, you don't last very long. Ever wonder why owners of Lotus Ltd don't seem to hold onto them very long?

bravenrace
bravenrace Dork
10/3/10 11:33 a.m.

Wow, a lot of guys caught up in what they want Lotus to be instead of Lotus doing what they need to to survive. Alphadriver is dead on right, and the fact is, if you did any research, Lotus can't survive using the current business model. It's NOT WORKING. So they need to change. I don't like it any more than anyone else, but it's not enough to like a light Elise. That doesn't help the company at all. You need to buy one to help the company. The failing GM division analogy doesn't work at all, because those brand didn't fail because they made more cars, they failed because they weren't profitable. And that was because of poor management and inferior products.
Ford has done better because of better management and increasingly better quality cars that are also appealling. They would be dead if all they sold were GT's, as is illustrated by the fact that they no longer make it. But I bet all of us wish they did, although most of us couldn't afford to buy one. Sorry, but our ideal of what a maker should be or has been means nothing if they can't make money doing it. I'm not saying this new direction is better or going to work, but the old one doesn't, so like it or not they have to change. Get your head out of the sand and realize this isn't about what you or I think Lotus should be, it's about what makes them profitable.

ReverendDexter
ReverendDexter Dork
10/3/10 11:57 a.m.

Brave, I know what you're saying, but you're taking it from the view of Lotus as an individual entity.

That's not reality. "Lotus" is a brand. A brand owned by a company. Now while the company's whole reason for existance is profitability, a brand is there to create an identity. To go against your brand identity only confuses your customers and weakens the brand. Look at Jeep and the Compass/Patriot. Sure they sell a few more "Jeeps", but in doing so it weakens people's association between "Jeep" and "bad-ass off-road vehicle". Right now, you buy a jeep because you want what it's identified with, either because that's what you want or that's the image you want to convey. If that image is weakened, the brand looses on both counts. Your hard-core market doesn't want your product, which means posers no longer want your product.

Ford is a horrible counter-example to use here. Ford is NOT a niche manufacturer! Ford is not associated with any particular market, but rather is an "everyman's vehicle". Lotus is a niche vehicle manufacturer with a very specific brand identity: vehicles that benefit in performance, especially handling, though added lightness.

If Proton wants to sell these cars, they should create a new brand to sell them under, and advertise "Handling by Lotus". This lets them take advantage of the Lotus brand to sell a lot of cars, without sullying the Lotus brand with cars that go against the Lotus identity.

alfadriver
alfadriver SuperDork
10/3/10 2:08 p.m.

And if a brand does not make money???

See Saturn, Pontiac, and Mercury.

Proton owns Lotus, they can do whatever they want to the name, brand, etc- that's free market. I find it pretty funny how many socialist ideas float around in the interest of saving a preception.

If you don't buy products from Proton, why should they bother to listen to you?

ReverendDexter
ReverendDexter Dork
10/3/10 2:35 p.m.
alfadriver wrote: Proton owns Lotus, they can do whatever they want to the name, brand, etc- that's free market. I find it pretty funny how many socialist ideas float around in the interest of saving a preception. If you don't buy products from Proton, why should they bother to listen to you?

The three brands you listed died because they screwed up their brand identity. As a Ford employee, can you even tell me what a "Mercury" was relative to a "Ford"? A "Lincoln" is a higher performance, luxury Ford, but wtf was a "Mercury"? It wasn't higher peformance, it wasn't cheaper, and it wasn't luxury.

The only reason Proton should listen to me is if they believe I'm a potential customer. Their existing customers are obviously happy enough with the product to have purchased one. They're damn close to a car that I WOULD purchase. But to take the path that they seem to be on? Then I will certainly NOT be a customer. And I can guarantee there's a lot more people out there that would spend $25k on a 2,000 lb Lotus with a 4-cylinder than there are people that will spend $250k on a 3500 lb hybrid Lotus with 600hp.

There's no socialism here. I don't believe that making the current batch of concepts is somehow "wrong", what I believe is that they're going to shoot themselves in the foot financially, and I'd prefer to not see Lotus fade back into obscurity because of poor management.

But who knows, maybe this is exactly what they need to do, and they'll kick ass at it.

Jensenman
Jensenman SuperDork
10/3/10 7:43 p.m.

So Proton wants to build 4 door Loti to compete with the Porsche Panamera. How about, 366 delivered in November 2009?

Stuttgart. Dr. Ing. h.c. F. Porsche AG, Stuttgart, delivered 1,626 cars to customers in the USA in November 2009. This corresponds to growth of 18 percent compared to last November. The Panamera enjoyed a particularly warm welcome from customers in the USA. In November 366 units of the four-passenger Gran Turismo were sold. The Panamera has been available in the USA since October 17.

There was good news on the sales front for the mid-engine Boxster sports car and the Cayman. A total of 96 units from the Boxster line were sold to customers, which is a 20 percent increase over November 2008. Sales of the Cayman models rocketed up by 88 percent with the sale of 137 units. A total of 362 units of the sporty all-wheel drive Cayenne were also sold. Compared to November 2008, this represents a life-cycle related decline of 10 percent. Deliveries of the 911 model fell 25 percent to 395 units compared to the same period last year.

http://porschebahn.wordpress.com/2009/12/02/porsche-panamera-enjoys-warm-welcome-in-the-usa/

So if Lotus grabs 10% of their Panamera sales out of the gate, that's 36 cars a month. Yeah, they'll be rolling in dough quickly.

I guess Lotus will wind up like MG is currently: a badge on something not quite like the name implies. (Come to think of it, what ever happened to the MG plant in Oklahoma?)

Lotus making overpriced halo cars? 'Sup with that? Looks a lot like what Ford did with the GT. Oops, did I say that out loud? (BTW, the GT was a helluva car.)

And there is the problem. Once a brand is identified with something, you change that at your peril. Want proof? Check out how Gatorade has struggled since they went with that funky 'G' as their identifying mark. Or a few years back when Nissan decided to kill the Datsun name and market all their cars as Nissans. For a few years, there were all kinds of cars saying 'Datsun by Nissan' across the back so people would get used to the idea.

GM murdered Saturn by 'corporatizing' the brand. They went from something refreshingly different to a 'rebadging' brand and thence to the toilet.

Was it me running Lotus, I'd concentrate on the 3rd part engineering. Why? No production line overhead: we design and license what you need, you build and sell it and mail us a big ass check once a month. Maybe branch out into aerospace, there's plenty of experience with laminated composites and space frame engineering in house. I'd cut back on vehicle production overhead (maybe sub out the chassis building) and maybe lease out the existing production capability to those companies who want to build limited production stuff like the Ford GT. Let THEM take it in the shorts.

bravenrace
bravenrace Dork
10/3/10 8:03 p.m.
ReverendDexter wrote: Brave, I know what you're saying, but you're taking it from the view of Lotus as an individual entity. That's not reality. "Lotus" is a brand. A brand owned by a company. Now while the company's whole reason for existance is profitability, a brand is there to create an identity. To go against your brand identity only confuses your customers and weakens the brand. Look at Jeep and the Compass/Patriot. Sure they sell a few more "Jeeps", but in doing so it weakens people's association between "Jeep" and "bad-ass off-road vehicle". Right now, you buy a jeep because you want what it's identified with, either because that's what you want or that's the image you want to convey. If that image is weakened, the brand looses on both counts. Your hard-core market doesn't want your product, which means posers no longer want your product. Ford is a horrible counter-example to use here. Ford is NOT a niche manufacturer! Ford is not associated with any particular market, but rather is an "everyman's vehicle". Lotus is a niche vehicle manufacturer with a very specific brand identity: vehicles that benefit in performance, especially handling, though added lightness. If Proton wants to sell these cars, they should create a new brand to sell them under, and advertise "Handling by Lotus". This lets them take advantage of the Lotus brand to sell a lot of cars, without sullying the Lotus brand with cars that go against the Lotus identity.

If you read my posts, I never said this was a good idea for Lotus, just that if what they are doing isn't working (and it's not), then you can't blame them for changing. Frankly, I don't think this new direction is a good idea either, but you are right, I am looking at it from their veiwpoint, which I think is exactly what everyone should try to do. As for Ford, I think you are again right, they aren't a niche manufacturer, but they would be if everything they produced was like the GT.

Javelin
Javelin SuperDork
10/3/10 8:16 p.m.

Why does everybody think the current/old Lotus isn't working? They were profitable in 07/08!! Sure they lost money last year, but so did everybody, including Toyota. Seriously, how many Elise/Exiges do you see at a track day? A dozen? How many Esprit's when they were new?

At the local HPDE today I counted 10 Elise/Exiges AND a 211! More than any other new manufacturer of high-end stuff...

Article

oldsaw
oldsaw SuperDork
10/3/10 9:00 p.m.
Javelin wrote: Seriously, how many Elise/Exiges do you see at a track day? A dozen? How many Esprit's when they were new? At the local HPDE today I counted 10 Elise/Exiges AND a 211! More than any other new manufacturer of high-end stuff...

Seriously, how many track-day opportunities even existed when Esprits were new?

YOU (and other board members) may consider the Elise/Exige high-end cars, but more money is held by those who do not consider them as such. Proton/Lotus foresee greater potential in moving to a more "up-scale" market.

Do I like it? No!

Do I understand it? Yes!

Javelin
Javelin SuperDork
10/3/10 10:44 p.m.

I don't mind the upscale market. I mind the upscale weight and stupid complexity, plus impure cars like the 4-door.

Does the new, upscale Lotus really need to weigh twice as much as the current one?

bravenrace
bravenrace Dork
10/4/10 6:03 a.m.

How do you add content and size without weight? It's a necessary trade off.

bravenrace
bravenrace Dork
10/4/10 6:05 a.m.
Javelin wrote: Why does everybody think the current/old Lotus *isn't* working?

Because I recently read it in an Automotive Engineering article interviewing Dr. Robert Hentchel, the Director of Lotus Engineering,that's why.

Giant Purple Snorklewacker
Giant Purple Snorklewacker SuperDork
10/4/10 6:40 a.m.

I fail to see how voicing my disdain for a corporate direction equates to socialism. I don't like it. I stated my reasons - primary of which is a selfish want to be able to point to just one company as the embodiment of everything I want in a performance car. For years I've been able to hold up the Exige as an irrefutable argument to the bloated sacs of cardom like the new M3. When that example goes away - I'll be forced to make my own and I'm getting too old to start a car company.

1 2
Our Preferred Partners
UbNgeUHV2nwkpAJJyAguDpoPLoL577j6a78wMZxGlysMjW4sk7l48FjOgQdBpSxr