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Old 11-09-2012, 05:54 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Ramifications of Lotus potentially going under?

I've been a life-long Lotus fan, and am seriously considering pulling the trigger on getting my first Lotus if the stars align in the next few weeks.

However, a large concern for me is the continuing uncertainty over the Lotus parent company Proton, as well as DRB-Hicom. Everything out there currently is just speculation, and while a DRB-Hicom exec has supposedly said "Lotus is safe", I don't think he would be the first C-level exec in the world to have lied if things play out differently.

With that in mind, what do you guys think would happen if (God forbid) Lotus does indeed end up going belly up? My main concerns are around:

1) resale value of existing Elises/Exiges/Evoras
2) spare parts
3) cost of maintenance

It's pretty obvious that resale values would decline, spare parts would be difficult (or impossible) to find, and cost of maintenance would go up, but I just have no idea what to expect as far as magnitude of these potential changes. I.e., would resale values totally tank, or just decline 5-10%? Would spare parts be literally impossible to find, or do you think a 3rd party company would figure out a way to start producing critical parts? Would non-Lotus independent auto repair shops be able/willing to service Lotuses, or are they so unique that you'd basically be SOL?

Any input or thoughts would be greatly appreciated.
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Old 11-09-2012, 06:01 AM   #2 (permalink)
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If you have been a lifetime fan and really want the car just go for it! Don't let all of that stop the purchase
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Old 11-09-2012, 06:09 AM   #3 (permalink)
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I don't think its a given resale would go down, these aren't econoboxes (haha!). Sure parts availablity might be sketchy at first, but if there was demand someone would make parts. A lot of the drivetrain parts would be available elsewhere, people are still crashing them (so there's the used parts market still).

Anything could happen though, I don't think anyone could really answer your questions with the kind of certainty you're looking for.

Only you can decide if you're ok with the risk.
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Old 11-09-2012, 06:09 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Haha, yeah, I would love to, but getting a Lotus is at my budgeted limits already, assuming things remain at status quo. If I have to eat a triple whammy of unexpected devaluation, doubling/tripling (or more) in maintenance cost run-rate, or even worse, an out of commission car that lacks a critical spare part, I would be a very unhappy camper.
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Old 11-09-2012, 06:17 AM   #5 (permalink)
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To me, it doesn't matter. I've owned my Elise for almost 3 years and plan on driving it until I don't want to anymore.

The biggest issue I see for current/future owners of used Eliges (versus say a new Evora) is for body parts. For example, I just had a rear clam and door replaced. I think I got #8 of 8 total available.

Accident - need front clam. Lotus doesn't have parts. Now what?

That's my concern, but it doesn't stop me!
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Old 11-09-2012, 06:23 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by ncitrdude View Post
I've been a life-long Lotus fan, and am seriously considering pulling the trigger on getting my first Lotus if the stars align in the next few weeks.

However, a large concern for me is the continuing uncertainty over the Lotus parent company Proton, as well as DRB-Hicom. Everything out there currently is just speculation, and while a DRB-Hicom exec has supposedly said "Lotus is safe", I don't think he would be the first C-level exec in the world to have lied if things play out differently.

With that in mind, what do you guys think would happen if (God forbid) Lotus does indeed end up going belly up? My main concerns are around:

1) resale value of existing Elises/Exiges/Evoras
2) spare parts
3) cost of maintenance

It's pretty obvious that resale values would decline, spare parts would be difficult (or impossible) to find, and cost of maintenance would go up, but I just have no idea what to expect as far as magnitude of these potential changes. I.e., would resale values totally tank, or just decline 5-10%? Would spare parts be literally impossible to find, or do you think a 3rd party company would figure out a way to start producing critical parts? Would non-Lotus independent auto repair shops be able/willing to service Lotuses, or are they so unique that you'd basically be SOL?

Any input or thoughts would be greatly appreciated.
1. So far the resale value of Elise/Exige has been pretty good, and appears to actually have went up some the last few months despite all of the news about Lotus' struggles coming out. Assuming that Lotus DOES go under or if it is bought by another company and revamped with a different image, then there is a good possibility that the current Lotus lineup will never really be emulated (light, simple, raw, etc) to the level that we see are used to. That, coupled with the fact that these cars are extremely fragile and many are used on the track, means that every day more and more and being wrecked and in many cases totaled. So what that leaves us with is an ever-decreasing supply of what is already an extremely limited and unique vehicle, so I have no hesitation in saying that re-sale prices should stay pretty stable.

2. Many of the mechanical parts on the Lotus are borrowed from other, more mainstream vehicles, and there are several third party manufacturers that have picked up where OEM parts have left off. All in all, the Elise and Exige are extremely reliable cars save a few things such as the factory radiator (which I'm dealing with right now ) and our oil lines, so if you take care of it you shouldn't have to worry about changing too many parts. Just remember that the powertrain is basically like driving a Celica GTS around.

3. Maintenance can be a little more expensive than "normal" cars, partly because it can be more difficult or time-consuming to perform them due to the configurations of our cars, and also because most people will take it to a "specialty" or "exotic" shop to have work done, and they will often charge higher rates. I'll give you a perfect example with my radiator issue. Assuming my radiator needs to be replaced, it will require removing the entire front clam just to get to it. I got a quote yesterday from the dealership saying labor alone on this is almost 700 bucks (and I'm not sure if that includes the coolant flush and all that). For many cars if a shop said they were charging you 700 dollars JUST for labor, you'd laugh at them on the way out the door.

That being said, the Lotus is pretty easy to work on (as long as you have small hands ) if you are willing to put in the time and have the proper tools. Do your own oil changes. Change your own pads. If you are having a small leak somewhere try to run it down yourself and fix it. Doing this little things make this car extremely cheap to maintain.
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Old 11-09-2012, 06:29 AM   #7 (permalink)
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I think resale would continue to rise for most of the Lotus cars just as the Exige has done in the US now that the V6 cannot be bought there. Just like when we were kids, you seem to always want what you can't have.
If there was some way I could ship mine back to the States and sell it, I would in a heart beat because of what I have seen I could make about 10 grand or more and I think being a right hand drive is a bonus too ( more exotic), I know in Germany it sure is.
When I was in the UK buying my Exige ( near the factory too), no one there was worried about the company and the Lotus seemed to be loved. It was also cool to see so many on the road and now I see zero unless at the shop for services.
Just my 2 cents.


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Old 11-09-2012, 07:15 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Lets play this out. If Lotus sought court protection, wouldn't that give them relief from creditor and given them a chance to get out of debt?

If Lotus was sold under bankruptcy, buyers would be able to buy the company for low prices....which is probably what investors are waiting for. If sold, I doubt the current product lines would be discontinued as they're already operational. I don't think sales globally is the problem. It's the debt.

Any other thoughts?
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Old 11-09-2012, 07:26 AM   #9 (permalink)
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there is certainly a chance lotus will go under. there is also a chance, that if that happens - the assets could get picked up and put back into "production".

but lets just say it goes the way of TVR...

body work, heck thats easy in the after market - in fact, their is nothing in the car 'difficult' to produce, except the chassis.Lotus hasn't made the old elan in decades, owners seem to have little problem keeping them on the road.

resale... i don't think ti would have a big impact one way or another - spyker is basically out of business... bespoke parts car... no radical change in the used cars prices. small volume niche cars are somewhat insulated in that respect. i mean, who takes their epsrit to the dealer for maintenance?
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Old 11-09-2012, 07:32 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Lets play this out. If Lotus sought court protection, wouldn't that give them relief from creditor and given them a chance to get out of debt?

If Lotus was sold under bankruptcy, buyers would be able to buy the company for low prices....which is probably what investors are waiting for. If sold, I doubt the current product lines would be discontinued as they're already operational. I don't think sales globally is the problem. It's the debt.

Any other thoughts?
Global sales aren't that hot. The Evora has been a poor seller globally. New Elise's (sold in other markets with the 1ZZ) aren't selling either. There is demand and deposits for the new Exige - but Lotus has botched that so far and failed to complete and deliver 1 customer car to date.
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Old 11-09-2012, 09:20 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Maintenance costs are very low for an exotic! Parts are readily available from many sources. Toyota drive train. Most suspension parts are readily available as an upgrade. The only issue would be clams. Sector 111 is now making clams that can be modified for street use. So parts and maintenance are not an issue.

Price of Lotus vehicles I see as climbing if they go under, especially due to the statements above. And pricing has increased this year. Hopefully they will survive with a new partner and continue tp produce a fantastic sports car for reasonable pricing, but who knows?
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Old 11-09-2012, 10:08 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Also, in regards to body panels and clams. HKFEVER, Sector111, and a few other sources are making carbon or fiberglass replacements. If you ever bin your Elige, I'd just go with the aftermarket. Hell, some people are replacing their non-crashed clams for carbon ones anyway. But... $$$
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Old 11-09-2012, 10:14 AM   #13 (permalink)
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All good points, thanks everybody.

How about the frame/subassemblies? Or are these the same as the clam? I was under the impression that all Lotuses (at least the Eliges/Evoras) had three separate frame subassemblies (front/middle/rear), which could supposedly be replaced easily? If the frame subassemblies are bonded together, if you had to replace a subassembly, wouldn't that be beyond the abilities of a non-Lotus shop?
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Old 11-09-2012, 11:30 AM   #14 (permalink)
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I think Elise's will hold their value because they fulfill a nich (high performance, relatively low cost), supply of cars will dwindle over time, and , as several have noted, parts will be available.

But the purpose of this car is enjoyment. If worry about these issues will detract from your (OP) willingness to take it out and drive just for the joy of driving, then maybe this isn't the best option.
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Old 11-09-2012, 11:36 AM   #15 (permalink)
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Lets play this out. If Lotus sought court protection, wouldn't that give them relief from creditor and given them a chance to get out of debt?

If Lotus was sold under bankruptcy, buyers would be able to buy the company for low prices....which is probably what investors are waiting for. If sold, I doubt the current product lines would be discontinued as they're already operational. I don't think sales globally is the problem. It's the debt.

Any other thoughts?
I don't believe Lotus can ask for court protection itself because it's owned by Proton, which has guaranteed at least part of that debt. In turn, DRB-Hicom has a controlling interest in Proton. DRB has already refused low-ball offers (1 pound) for Lotus and has stated it can't/won't allow Lotus to go under.

DRB-Hicom rejects £1 offer for Lotus, wants to nurse loss making sportscar maker back to health


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Global sales aren't that hot. The Evora has been a poor seller globally. New Elise's (sold in other markets with the 1ZZ) aren't selling either. There is demand and deposits for the new Exige - but Lotus has botched that so far and failed to complete and deliver 1 customer car to date.
Per a tweet by PistonHeads today, Lotus' sales are down 52% in the first 8 months of this year.
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Old 11-09-2012, 03:32 PM   #16 (permalink)
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their is nothing in the car 'difficult' to produce, except the chassis.
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All good points, thanks everybody.

How about the frame/subassemblies? Or are these the same as the clam? I was under the impression that all Lotuses (at least the Eliges/Evoras) had three separate frame subassemblies (front/middle/rear), which could supposedly be replaced easily? If the frame subassemblies are bonded together, if you had to replace a subassembly, wouldn't that be beyond the abilities of a non-Lotus shop?
the chassis is everything that holds the drivetrain and suspension together. for the elise there are 2 parts, the extruded alumn tub, and the steel sub frame. the front is just crash structure, and is bonded.

the evora is different, it is not just an extruded tub like the elise, but has a steel space frame, along with stressed skins bonded, with a separate replaceable front sub frame. and then a similar steel rear sub frame.
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Old 11-09-2012, 04:27 PM   #17 (permalink)
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The company has had so many financial ups and downs over it's history it shouldn't be a concern. No matter what model you own it seems that parts are almost always available.
If you love the brand, buy the car!
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Old 11-09-2012, 08:32 PM   #18 (permalink)
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I am most concerned about one off lotus specific parts like the throttle body and ECU. The rest seem to be off the shelf Toyota stuff or common or consumable parts where there is already an aftermarket. I mean maybe you won't be able to get the right clips or hoses with a lotus sticker on it, but I think they should be maintainable for decades.
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Old 11-09-2012, 08:57 PM   #19 (permalink)
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I thought I seen some where that you could buy a programmable Toyota ECU for the Lotus. It is in one of the Lotus stores for around $2000 and I also thought the throttle body was Toyota.
I think you would see a lot of converting to either all Honda or Toyota for the engine and trans. I think a lot already have.
I know Komo-Tec is also transplanting Audi V6 into the Exige and Elise over here in Germany.
It would be sad if they went under but I would find a way to keep my Exige going.
I also think it would make for a lot of garage queens and there is nothing wrong with that (had a Mustang that never left the garage) may even be a good investment in the States if Lotus does not want to add the extra weight to the new Exige to get it to the crazy safety standards the Gov required.


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Old 11-10-2012, 01:20 AM   #20 (permalink)
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The company has had so many financial ups and downs over it's history it shouldn't be a concern. No matter what model you own it seems that parts are almost always available.
If you love the brand, buy the car!
I believe the engineering and consultancy division of lotus is usually more financially stable. When is Lotus Cars division not in financial turmoil?Every Lotus car comes with a bit of that history and this makes them in my view that much more special. I love that they are a low production number car company and the fact that there are less elise, exige and evoras on the road than any Porche or most ferraris. Remember that this is a Lotus you are buying. In my opinion, there is no better time to get one.


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