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Discussion Starter #1
I just started looking into information about the Elise while being bored on the weekend, and came up with the crazy idea that I might want one! I currently use a single car (WRX) as both my daily driver and "race" (autocross) car, and have been thinking about getting a real sportscar at some point. The Elise looks like a perfect choice for a play car that would mostly be used for autocross and an occasional cruise in nice weather.

Anyway, I have a few newbie questions. I read the FAQ, and did some searching, but didn't come across clear answers:
  1. I saw that some of you test drove early versions. It sounds like there are a few cars that get passed around between dealers? How would I go about getting a test drive? Just call the dealer, and ask when they have one of the cars around?
  2. How do you think the value will hold up, if the car is only used in good weather, and fairly low milage? Part of me says that it's crazy to buy a $40K "toy", and it might make more rational sense if the car keeps its value fairly well.
  3. Will insurance be insanely expensive? I know that insurance costs depend on a lot of factors, I'm just trying to get a rough idea, maybe compared to other cars.
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    I have some more questions that better fit in a different forum, so I'll try and be a good board citizen and post them there. ;)
 

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Welcome! Glad you made it.

Best way to get a drive is to talk to your dealer. It would help if you put down a deposit, but an indication you are serious may be enough. Most of the dealers don't seem to have a good idea exactly when they will get the loaner cars.

I believe the value will hold up incredibly. I don't expect ANY depreciation in the first 6 months. Supply and demand. $40k may seem like a lot, but in today's market, that is a nice minivan or medium SUV or truck.

We don't know about insurance. But if it is based on the $40k price, I don't see any reason to think it will be nuts. The largest part of your insurance is not the car, but liability and the statistics of your potential claim to that liability. What statistics will there be for the Elise? It's not a Camaro.

There may be a hit to the insurance based on ease of repair and availability of parts. But that remains to be seen.
 

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Welcome Cone!

Good to have ya here, this is bar none the best Elise forum out there, you'll have fun.


Im from Louisville Kentucky, not too far from you. I see you have a WRX and obviously autocross, you may ( or may not) know some of our local autocrossers, we've got some pretty insane WRX"s here...lots of Cobb and Vishnu cars. Check out www.louisvillestreets.com.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks for the answers, Randy.

What about long term value? I know we don't hold a crystal ball, but is there something that can be predicted from other Lotus models? I'm seeing an aluminum frame, fibreglass body, seems like it should last (no rust!). And a Toyota engine should be easy to maintain, or even replace if necessary.

Insurance wise, I would think that it could be in the same range as something like an S2000 or Boxster? Price is between the two, and both of them are also sports cars that are not typically driven by boy racers.
 

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The thing that determines longer term value are the availability of better cars for that price. If a drop dead sexy car that weighs 1000 pounds and has 300hp comes out, that may drop the value of an existing Elise. But even then, maybe not.

If there were 20,000 Elises imported each year, there is a lot of supply on the used market. But there is not. We still have not seen the buzz that is going to hit. When it does, the number of people hitting the showrooms and asking to be on the list will skyrocket. When can they get cars? A long time from now.

I expect a larger number of people will also hold on to the Elise, not drop it for a newer model that has GPS and DVD like one might for an SUV.

It would not surprise me to see something like this:

Day 1. Price paid $38,500.
Day 2. Price on the market/ebay $45,000 or more.

Whatever that top "premium" number is, it will steadily but gradually decline. The car has more value when it's brand new and when the model first hits the market. A lot of people want to be one of the first around owning the car and will pay for that priviledge. Perhaps the low numbers may mean that a year or two later you can still buy one and be the first in your city with one?

1 year old. $40,000
2 years old. $37,000. Perhaps at this point, you can get cars new without a long wait?
3 years old. $35,000
5 years old. $30,000

Here, I expect the curve to decline a little. Now it is depreciating because of wear/tear and age. The larger factor is if Lotus comes out with newer, better models. That will drive the price down. If 10 years from now, the best performing Elise is still the one you bought in 2004, the value will still be up there. If they improve the car substantially, the value will drop more.

It would be possible that a 10 year old Elise here could still be worth over $20k.
 

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Cars are not an investment.

Don't buy the Elise if you can't afford it. "Toy" cars cost alot of cash, but it's all the things that are non-cash that you get back in return. I've also learned not to ask people with toy cars about what they think about buying a new toy. These are people that have taken the plunge and understand that it isn't an economic decision - it's about the passion for the car and driving the car.

When I first saw an Exige, in August of 2001, at the Concourso Italiano in Monterey it was a done deal - I said that I had to have that car. So what you can't drive it on the street, etc. It took me 8 months to figure it all out, but I bought it and haven't looked back. It's been a huge amount of fun owning it and I can't think of another car I would like as my trackday car.

Think with your brain, not your pocketbook!
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I'm in!

Ok, I did it! Put down a deposit ($1000, refundable, "price will not exceed MSRP") at MidRivers Lotus today. I didn't get a precise number, but was told that they have around 35 deposits so far, and keep them in order. I asked the salesperson a bunch of questions, but not surprisingly, I didn't really learn anything that hasn't been posted yet. At least he didn't pretend to know about things that haven't been published yet (like detailed options, and allocation numbers).

Thanks for everybody's help so far! I'll post a few more observations in the Dealership forum later.

And since this was my introduction thread, here are a couple of pictures of my current car (which I will keep):

 
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