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Elise Content-

Fast Poll

The Lotus Elise is attractive to U.S. enthusiasts, but the car's limited practicality, British heritage and minimal dealer network may keep it from being widely accepted.

Quotes-

Poor reliability drove off the last generation of British roadsters in America, but the Elise's Toyota drivetrain should help address that. -Michael R Marshall, Vienna, VA

The Elise will generate passion, but it might not generate sales. Americans will desire a larger cockpit, a more comfortable ride and an automatic transmission. - Rick Ferris, Columbus OH
(ed note, Rick... are you insane? An automatic?)

For 40K you get a go-kart with a Toyota drivetrain and a cramped interior. I'd take a BMW 3 series or a Corvette for a joyride in the mountains before risking the typical British unreliability that spells Lotus. -Mike Roller, Taylor Mill, KY

There should be plenty of passion for the Elise, but it's up to Lotus management to make the ownership experience as pleasing as the rest of the car. -David Nagler, Chester, NY

The Elise has great handling dynamics, but it's expensive, ugly, and British-built. Some may forget about that when they are behind the wheel, but not me. -Will Hunt, Zanesville, OH
(ed note... ugly??)

The Elise's performance and good looks will win Lotus traditionalists over and gain new supporters as well. - Bill Wells, Bloomfield Hills, MI
 

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Interesting

Those on this board may have a hard time relating to people who 'don't get' the Elise, but it's clearly not a guaranteed success in the U.S.

Lotus has its work cut out in terms of overcoming the 'British Unreliablilty' issue
 

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Autoweek really has a more diverse readership, so comments like those don't surprise me. In fact, they probably point out the Elise's downfalls more than any other American publication thus far.

- J

PS: It's wonderful that people have automatic, 3-series and Corvette alternatives!
 

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I have always assumed that in the AutoWeek Fast Poll, the printed comments represent a snapshot of the all the responses.

If that is true, there are a lot of car guys even that are concerned about reliabilty or who think the car is not mainstream enough to enjoy a large market. Question of course being what "large" means to them and to Lotus.

I bolded the one quote because I think it's spot on. The guy notes the car is cool, but the experience has to be cool for people to stick with Lotus. Otherwise, a good number will move on to the next cool car.
 

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When I first joined, I was concerned that the Elise would be in the shop three weeks out of the month, and I would never get to drive it. Now I'm willing to sacrafice a bit more reliability. Not expecting a Porsche, but it would be nice to be driving to more places than just the service center on the weekend.

Some people really do think the car is ugly is my experience, at least when it comes to more mainstream car enthuisiasts.
 

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But surely the yota engine and gearbox will go a long way to improved reliability. The Rover had it's problems, head gaskets for one.
Chris
 

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Our constitution gives everyone a right to an opinion (we have to change that ;)), but that doesn't mean that everyone's opinion is worth listening too. (ie: How similar are a BMW 3 series and a Corvette on a mountain road?)

Some people like cars, while others are enthusiasts. A person who likes cars may not understand the Elise. An enthusiast may not like the Elise, but understands the Elise's mission. Add to the fact some people are just ignorant and not a position to get a $40K car. I'd take opinions with a grain of salt -except for people whose opinions coincide with mine. (joking!) :D

Autoweek's forum:
http://chat.autoweek.com/showthread.php?threadid=7624&perpage=15&highlight=elise&pagenumber=1
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I try not to project too much, or assume intent, but I swear that I read a number of posts on other car forums where there is some jealousy and justification as to why their car of choice is better.

Like it's too expensive, if I added $10 to my car it would be just as fast. It's too small. Can't be a daily driver. Can't get into it. It will fall apart. It's too low, you will get run over.

Some of the criticisms are quite valid. A limited dealer network for example.
 

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Vantage said:
Some people really do think the car is ugly is my experience, at least when it comes to more mainstream car enthuisiasts.
It won't be mistaken for anything else...and that's one thing I love about it. :)
 

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zvezdah1 said:
But surely the yota engine and gearbox will go a long way to improved reliability. The Rover had it's problems, head gaskets for one.
Chris
Exactly. I expect there will be some reliability issues, like the mirror falling off. :) But those are annoyances, not show stoppers. An engine going bad is a lot worse.
 

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Let's remember that you really only hear about the bad things of the Rover K-Series. Sure, people get on the various boards and b!tch, but when do you see people getting on the boards and saying that their car ran great today?

All cars (even non-British cars) have problems - the US Elise will have its share as well.
 

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Derek said:
I see this number a lot. I've done the math and my car will be right around $47k without any dealer installed options.
But all cars use the base MSRP numbers. Nobody has to buy Sport and Touring, Hardtops, Chrome Orange paint.

In fact, I wonder if the buyer that just gets a base car with NOTHING, is not making the best deal.

Because my car is $47k with Touring/Sport, I will not be getting any dealer options.
 

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I don't understand comment like,” It’s an awful lot of money for a toy"

All of my favorite cars are really no more than toys. Ferrari, Lamborghini, Noble, Pagani Zonda, Porsche GT, MaClaren F1. All toys, wildly impractical. You hardly need racecar handling or 500 plus BHP to run to the local supermarket, or to get to work in the morning. Hell the speed limit is still 55 mph in most of the USA.
So if the Liz is overpriced what's an Enzo, or a Zonda or any other dream car for that matter?

More to the point how much something cost is relative to how much yu can afford to spend. I'm sure Bill Gates doesn't think the Enzo is awfully expensive.

I think these people are for the most part jealous. As for the comments about the Vettes and BMW... If I wanted either of those cars I would buy them. I have not so read between the lines:)
 

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100% agree.

And for someone saying that, that is driving a $20k car... there is someone else saying what an waste of money, because he is driving a $1000 beater. It's very relative.
 

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I saw that guy's comment about the supposed desire for an automatic transmission. I just want to say that the kind of person that wants an AT on an Elise, well, I'm not sure that's someone I wanna know.
 

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Ha. Yea. The number of people that want an AT could probably, well, could probably fit in an elise.

With room to spare :)
 

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I don't know how much of these opinions are about jealousy or defending their own cars.

It is expensive. It has a drivetrain that is found in less expensive cars. It doesn't have expensive gadgetry like GPS nav systems, stability control, side air bags, etc. Entire clams need to be replaced in minor parking accidents. And two-seater sports cars, by definition, are not practical, and the Elise pushes that impractical envelope.

It can be considered ugly. Anything that is different/odd can be considered ugly. When the S2 was announced in 2000, it took a while for me to get used to the vertical headlights, especially since it was so different from the S1 that I fell in love with. But look at cars today. Vertical headlights are in vogue--look at Nissan, Toyota, Cadillac,... even Ferrari!

As for sales, no, it will never generate Ford Mustang sales numbers, not even Miata or Boxster numbers. But who cares? Look at Bentley's numbers. Mitsubishi sells a lot more cars, but they are hemorraghing a lot of money.

To me, there are the casual car fans. Then there are car enthusiasts. Then there are driving enthusiasts, a rare breed in this land where the truck/SUV is king. The Elise is built by driving enthusiasts, for driving enthusiasts. To hell with everyone else! :p

Damn it! Where is my car?!
 

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It's comments like these that confirms the belief inside Hethel and other places in Europe that the US driver wants a big floaty, cushy, living room on wheels.

It's why Lotus is smart to only build 2000 a year even if the 1st year is sold out.
 

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I suppose many of the comments get to the "why" so many North American cars are watered down massive compromises. Comments like "to small", "cramped interior", and preferences for 3 series BMWs get to the heart of the mass market. Ever wonder why so many people think a 3600 pound 3 Series BMW is a "sports" car? It has all the do dads and comforts but no feel and certainly doesn't stir any passion in me.
Give me an Elise or a Seven for fun, I'll use the BMW for the great commuter car it is.
 
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