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It's interesting being one of the Lotus fans here... I have come to respect and appreciate a lot that is Lotus. I absolutely love the fact that Lotus listens to it's customers.

However... I am not thrilled about a few things. And I know, a lot of it is because they are a smaller company. The same thing that affords them the ability to be as responsive to us as they are, is the thing that also means that they don't have hordes of workers to deal with various things.

What things? Like the person in charge of making sure the information to the dealers is spot on and timely. Like the person that makes sure the website is up to date. And maybe a couple of goons to deal with bad dealerships and handle the dealerships in limbo... and sign up more dealerships.

I also know that Lotus thinks that they can't control the dealerships very much. The rules and laws of the USA probably surprised them... like that they can't dictate pricing like they expected to be able to do. They requested that the dealers sell the cars for MSRP.. but what can they do if the dealers do not? I think that Lotus has a bigger carrot than they think... and if maybe if some dealers saw a new dealership down the street (that agrees to play better) getting many more cars than they do, that can be a motivator. But I don't know the contracts and stuff of course... just wishful thinking. :)

Lotus is not used to dealing with things in this volume and with this much at stake. Hate to make wrong moves. And the dealers are used to selling 1-2 Esprits a year... are they set up for this? It's a lot different dealing with the occasional Esprit sale and the Modena or Contach sale. How many of these dealers have had to work with waiting lists in such high numbers and with such scanty information? And they are dealers and the business is there to make money... sell at MSRP? All the cars? Is Lotus MAD?

So there is all of that.... what is my point. I don't know.. just rambling. Too much coffee I suppose. I guess my point is this.

I have been racing and driving Toyotas for a long time.. and it was a love/hate relationship. Liked the Toyota product, hated the dealers. I can see that I am becoming one of the Lotus family. Love the car. Love the philosophy of the company. Really appreciate a lot about the company. I just wish I could feel that way about the information availability and the dealerships. I really want to be able to like and trust my dealer. I think that can be an important part of owning a car like this. It should not be such a hard thing to know where you are on the list. To know what the dealer's policy. To be kept informed...

Back on point... dealerships in limbo. We have two I know of. Man, I can't imagine how bothered I would be if I was early on a waiting list at one of these two dealers. Is there an issue here? Maybe not. But have we heard anything from anyone that makes you feel better if you are at one of these two dealers?

Symbolic of Beverly Hills. As you know, they closed their doors December 28th. We received a letter saying they would, and they would re-open. But there is nothing about a new building. And now it's February and the cars will start arriving. Did BH Symbolic place orders for their first 10 customers? Anyone know?

And Lotus has to be wondering about this. What happens to those people on the BH list if there is no new BH location? And if they merge the BH and La Jolla lists, will Lotus double the allocation, or will a new Los Angeles dealer get the BH list or start over with a new list? Questions.

And then there is Ferarri Of Denver. They have been saying they are a dealer for a while now. We even have one of their salespersons on this forum. And yet... word is out that they have not really signed a contract with Lotus to sell the Elise. Perhaps it's a technicality. I hope so....

As posted by mikeearle on the Official Forum-
...I am not happy and have been told by LCU that FOD will receive cars later than the official dealers if indeed they eventually reach an agreement.
:eek:


As posted by Mason on the Official Forum-

I talked to the owner of FOD recently and he was completely apologetic and told me he was lead to believe from Lotus USA that his “approval” would have been taken care of by January. He’s been to the UK to try and expedite the situation but with so much going on at Lotus they haven’t been able to ink the final deal. FOD has done a lot to try and make this happen including take away some real estate from it’s core brands (Ferrari / and Bentley). FOD also told me that they would happily refund anyone’s deposit if they would like to get it back.

At this point I’m a little angry that FOD was taking deposits with out having all of their “ducks in a row” but I do believe that they felt that the approval was more of a formality. As they tell it, LCA was encouraging them to start to try and generate customers.

With the car still a few months away I’ll keep my fingers crossed and hope that every thing gets resolved with FOD and LCA. I have also been talking to a few other Lotus Dealers about the situation. Some have told me that they’d like to help out if the Denver deal doesn’t happen by trying to slot some of the people on the Denver waitlist into spots that they have where people have canceled their deposit.

At this point we’ll just need to cross our fingers and wait
It seems like the Denver thing will get hammered out. And either Ferarri of Denver will be a dealer (with some delay in the orders) or the list will transfer to a new dealership in Denver. Still, a little disconcerting for those on that waiting list.
 

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Damn... my apologies.. I wrote a freakin novel again.
:)
 

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Lots to think about. I keep an eye out for inconsistencies from my dealer. It's one of the reasons that I frequent this forum.
As you say, many of these dealerships are used to selling cars in a much smaller number at a much higher price point. How many people on this list with a deposit at Ferrari of Denver had any business shopping at a dealership with "Ferrari" in its name before the Elise? I certainly wouldn't have been looked upon highly there.
Many of these dealerships won't be accustomed to a customer arguing over a few hundred dollars, but for some of us that could be the difference between placing the order and pulling back our deposits.
 

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I don't mean to imply that the majority of future Elise owners are as impoverished as I am, just that the Elise is open to a less well-to-do demographic than the Modena. I hope that I've not offended anybody.
 

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I also think some dealerships may not be used to the idea that a large number of people can compare notes on the internet. Specially if they are a dealership selling a smaller number of higher cost cars. Or maybe there is a LamboTalk with 1000 members? :)
 

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NMRJock said:
I don't mean to imply that the majority of future Elise owners are as impoverished as I am, just that the Elise is open to a less well-to-do demographic than the Modena. I hope that I've not offended anybody.
I am saying the same thing. $40-45k is not cheap... but it's not in the same league as the new cars a dealer like Symbolic normally sells.
 

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Thanks Randy. It was a good novel.

Every person I have every met at LC has been forthcoming, friendly, and delighted to have my business. This makes me feel very glad to be a customer, as a 24 year old female, its hard to get that kind of respect.

The dealers, however, are not as helpful. This makes me nervous, especially as I'm not in any top ten. I dont want to wait til next year to have my car, as I've had my money down for more than a year now. And I cant afford to spend 1K+ over MSRP. I can barely afford MSRP. And even if I had lots of money to throw away, its just not right...whats the point of being on the list anyway if it comes down to market value.

I know there are lots of us in this position. Angry that we dont have all the info that we feel entitled to as customers. I think Lotus needs to pay closer attention to their dealer actions. I mean, if anyone is going to be making money off of me, I'd rather it be lotus than the stinkin dealership. That way lotus can continue to make fantastic cars for years to come. I want to see an exige someday...and the new esprit.
 

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I agree with everything you said. I think LotusUSA has several major fundamental problems, but the one that is most glaring is a lack of communication. Nevermind that information is even consistently disemnated, but just lack there of. I'm not and insider (dealer) so I wouldn't know what has or hasn't been communicated to the dealers but at this point in the game you would think that the dealerships would know more of the fundamental things like allocation, etc. I couldn't imagine why a dealership would sit on information they already know unless LotusUSA has told them to do so. Not to beat a dead horse but the website is part of this glaring lack of communication. From conversations with my dealer it seems as if Lotus doesn't even communicate to them so why should we expect any information?
If I were the marketing/communications VP for Lotus/Proton I should be fired.


I'm thankfull that this forum exists so that we can compare notes and make sure what we find out (speculation or fact) is consistent. I guess we'll wait and see.
 

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I get the impression that the dealers might be at least as unhappy about the lack of information as we are. They obviously wouldn't complain openly, but while talking to my salesperson, I sometimes sense a bit of frustration when I ask questions. At least he's honest, and tells me if he doesn't know something. It's fairly clear that Lotus doesn't provide them with timely updates, he even mentioned one time that you can normally find more information on the internet than what they receive from Lotus.
 

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Take for example color choices. How difficult would it be to send 38+ dealers in-store color samples. I heard 'bout this right after LA but no follow throuh. I doesn't even have to be the fancy miniature car mock up that they had at the LA show. They could do something like Porsche with what looks like painted PVC shingles. I know someone is going to say "but its' Lotus and that's to be expected" so does that mean we have to put up with aimlessness and lack of communication? I guess if you really want your car you have to, but the "but its' Lotus and that's to be expected" excuse doesn't cut it. I just hope that "after the sale" service is good. After owning Porsches and BMWs I'm really disappointed with Lotus so far.
 

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As angry as everyone is, you're forgetting that this is a capitalistic system we live in and unfortunately, there's really no incentive for dealerships to hold the price at MSRP.

Let's say the dealership makes $4K profit on each car. If they can sell the car for a market price of $10K over M.SUGGESTED.R.P. then the guy down the street would have to move an extra 2.5 cars to make that same $10K in additional profit.

Part of the problem is the limited supply of dealerships and the limited supply of cars all coming together in the perfect storm.

I for one am glad we live in the system we do, and don't fault people for making the most money off their product that the market will bear. The market we live in allows me to live the lifestyle I do, and with price controls my service would become a comodity and be worth less. That's why I'm glad only 20% of the US population goes to college and that I was lucky enough to be part of that statistic.

I don't hear anyone complaining that they bought their last chrysler for $5K off MSRP with 0% financing. If you're going to cry about dealers charging more that the SUGGESTED price then you should cry about dealers not charging you MSRP.........or do you want to have it both ways.

We live in a market economy, where consumers have choices. I for one am glad we have choices and wouldn't have it any other way.
 

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As I mentioned before, I exchanged e-mails with Mike Pedace at Symbolic a couple of weeks ago. I asked twice if Symbolic had ordered the first 10 cars for the Beverly Hills waiting list, but did not receive a response. He also did not answer my question about why Symbolic ordered the 10 cars for the La Jolla list at random. I asked about the situation with respect to reopening a showroom in the Los Angeles area and he said that negotiations were underway with Lotus, it would take some time to finalize a plan, but no way that Symbolic would walk away and let someone else take over the franchise. He also said that Symbolic plans to fill orders based on the waiting list, but would not confirm my spot. Previously, Nick indicated that I was in the top 20 and should receive a car within the first 3 months of deliveries, but admitted that was a rough guess since they don't know the production rate or their allocation. Nick did assure me that I would only pay MSRP for the car.

Some months ago I could have placed a second deposit with Silver Star in Thousand Oaks for the #23 spot on their waiting list. However, they did not seem committed to MSRP, so I passed. Now it appears that they are behaving properly, so I am berating myself for being so stupid.

I would be tempted to pay up to $1000 to secure a spot in the top 10, and could certainly afford that, but if offends me philosophically to have to do that. Plus, most people who would sell their spot seem to want more than that. Plus, what if you spend the extra money and things don't work out.

So I'm sitting tight and hoping for the best.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
smura said:
As angry as everyone is, you're forgetting that this is a capitalistic system we live in and unfortunately, there's really no incentive for dealerships to hold the price at MSRP.
I mentioned that.

And they are dealers and the business is there to make money... sell at MSRP? All the cars? Is Lotus MAD?
I am not faulting a dealer for wanting to make more. But part of the reason that I wanted an Elise was the understanding that they would agree to sell at MSRP. Otherwise, I would wait.

My point in this thread is NOT dealers charging more than MSRP. It's mainly in dealers that are not dealers. Such as Ferarri of Denver. And the situation with BH Symbolic. I hope this thread does not turn into or come across as a rant against dealers being in this for the money. Lotus is in this for the money also. I have zero problems with that.
 

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By the way, Randy, as I understand things, you have a low spot on the La Jolla list and wanted a silver car, but you will be forced to accept a yellow car to get LSS, due to Symbolic's ordering approach. Not the end of the world, but seems unfair that you need to compromise just to make sure you get a car early on.

I have settled on Saffron Yellow, but I'm not sure what I would do if Symbolic called me up and offered a red one right away. A bird in the hand might be better than an Elise in the bush.
 

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Few things here, Symbolic created a lot of this problem themselves, they knew long in advance they had to move, they were hedging their bets on whether to commit I think, because they weren't sure what interest the elise would bring.

Look at some of Nicks' (of Symbolic) posts I think on the Official Lotus Forum, basically saying waiting lists would be honored if a better offer didn't come along. I just think they're are plenty other individuals in the LA area who would far better represent the Lotus Elise then a dealer like Symbolic (these cars are too low -priced for them). If he talks this openly about better treatment for their average client (read wealthy) what kind of treatment do you think you'll get from these guys when you need service? Sure to get kicked behind any of his regular clients.

The best thing that'll ever happen is if someone else gets the LA franchise. Unfortunately the people on the Symbolic list will get further screwed.

The other thing, Lotus USA still only has about ten or twelve people working for it. They're in the process of hiring more people and a lot of the concerns will be addressed. But no way you can compare Lotus with Porsche from an infrastructure standpoint. Remember LCU is going from an operation selling 120 cars a year to 2300 cars a year, it's going to take time to determine what they have to do and get organized.

I hope they shut the Lotus cars website down, come back with a more elemental site and keep it updated. But the thing is the LCU guy who's responsible to keep up with the website probably has twenty other duties, I'd much rather the time get spent on concrete things to get the cars over.

CHris
 

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jml1952 said:
By the way, Randy, as I understand things, you have a low spot on the La Jolla list and wanted a silver car, but you will be forced to accept a yellow car to get LSS, due to Symbolic's ordering approach. Not the end of the world, but seems unfair that you need to compromise just to make sure you get a car early on.

I have settled on Saffron Yellow, but I'm not sure what I would do if Symbolic called me up and offered a red one right away. A bird in the hand might be better than an Elise in the bush.
Just to be clear... I did want Silver... and maybe if there was a silver LSS touring car coming... maybe... but moving to Yellow was my choice. I had decided before I called Symbolic to change to Yellow.
 

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huggy bear said:

If I were the marketing/communications VP for Lotus/Proton I should be fired.


I'm thankfull that this forum exists so that we can compare notes and make sure what we find out (speculation or fact) is consistent. I guess we'll wait and see.
I think it a sad affair when such a committed following is having to resort to this to get data. I'm not knocking our forum or its members, but it doesn't say much for the company or the dealerships when we are the ones educating our salespeople about what's out there or where the demo cars are etc.
Lotus might be small, but I still blame them for the misinformation and speculation that is running rampant. The Fed Elise has been announced and 'unveiled' in some manner or another; so there is no more need for secrecy. It wont take much to update their website. Maybe they don't want to spend money on glossy borchures etc and I can understand that. BUT, they can have an IT person do a nice .pdf handout via email to its dealers to educate them. This is not putting a good face on this company for those newly introduced to it.
my $0.02
 

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Randy Chase said:
It's interesting being one of the Lotus fans here... snip.... Still, a little disconcerting for those on that waiting list.
It may be worth remembering what R. Becker (of Lotus
Hethel) said when he replied at the LA Auto Show that, "there are 38 dealers
and additional ones would not be added for two years." -ridgeman-
 

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When it comes right down to it tho, how often do the salesman know as much about any car as the enthusiast interested in it. Very rarely,
Chris
 

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zvezdah1 said:
When it comes right down to it tho, how often do the salesman know as much about any car as the enthusiast interested in it. Very rarely,
Chris
True that. You should try buying an MR2 at a Toyota dealer for an amusing potentially experience when he opens the front hood to show you the engine. It happens. And the number of times I would attend a car show and hear the dealers telling people stuff that I wonder if they just made it up.
 
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