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Hope everyone had fun at Ascot’s open house. I’m glad I got to see so many Lotus and Elise people there. Too bad I couldn’t stay longer. Thanks to Curt @ Ascot for hosting the event and all the work he put in to it.

When there I spoke to Rick McLeish, East Coast Sales Manager. He’s been with Lotus just about 6 months. We talked a lot about how Lotus has been dealing with issues and communications and all that jazz. Some thing to tell you guys:

1. Lotus knows they messed up the Elise rollout.
2. They are working on a better build & delivery date system. They are going to be updating dealers with the new system once it is active. It’s not working up to snuff yet but it is close.
3. It takes about 1 month from build to a US port. All shipping from the factory is in containers and makes it take a little longer. The one month timeframe is consistent with few outliers.
4. Import inspections & shipping from the US port to LCU to the dealer is the hard part. It can take from 3 to 6 weeks for this process. Port inspections are wildcards so you can’t presume anything. I think once they get used to the process with the larger number of cars coming over then it will get better. They don’t have the muscle to get shippers to meet pickup times which Rick said was the worst part. Again, once LCU gets more familiar with the truckers and they can build up larger volumes this should get better. Good news is that once the car gets on the truck its only a few days away. That’s why when you hear it’s at the port doesn’t mean you’ll be driving it soon.
5. I spoke to Rick about throwing us a bone. I told him that a large number of us have been on the waitlist for a long time and have endured a lot to get this car. I spoke to him about a few options to give the first purchasers something be it something at LOG or other things. Not sure what exactly they could do but I think the got the idea that being extra nice to current and future Elise owners might be a good thing considering all the trouble we’ve had getting to this point.
6. New faces at Lotus & they are working to make LCU a better company from the customers point of view. They have a new tech guy going around to all Lotus dealers to check out all problems to see if they are one time things or common to all Elises.

Rick really seemed to want to work with the customers and fix the issues we’ve had lately with communication. He was a cool guy to talk to and I’m glad I had a chance to speak with him. Hopefully we’ll get to meet again and talk more Lotus stuff.

I did get the impression that Lotus is on the right track for getting things done. As I talked to Rick about things he seemed to have things worked out for the future. But as I told him these things that are being done should have been done 6-8 months ago. Unfortunately things at Lotus just got rolling at that time and it has taken this long to get everyone up to speed and working on the issues.
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