wow. Tough question - I suppose I would enquire about allocations - how they determine the amount of cars to each dealer. And ask them to clarify the statement in the last memo regarding production #'s by year end/1st quarter 2005...
Being #39 at my dealer, I don't know whether to expect my car my December/January or late next year. I don't expect to know the exact date, but approximately what month? That is not asking for too much...
Really not interested in all the fine details of allocation, delivery etc. Probably a lot of questions they couldn't really answer. Changes for the '06 or next generation Elise. Variations of the Elise, new Lotus models in the pipeline.
Stuff they could more likely give us insight too, support for those competing with the Elise or meets and events for everyone else. Coming from a engineering background lots of technical details about the design, suspension, motor, handling etc. would be what I'd be most interested in.
I would also inquire about the Exige, and I would also ask what we can expect from the Nissan GT-R (in terms of suspension, handling, etc) and also ask what the new Esprit is going to be like (hopefully it doesn't have the big butt and tail lights that the computerized photos had).
i don't know the auto industry's build complications, as in the day-to-day management of staff, supplies and vendors, but i would guess they know their business very well. as a sole proprietor/print-design art director, i know my business very well, and when clients ask me to design a brochure or annual report, we can get very specific in the level of detail in the "ordering" process. it invariably includes changes throughout the process, even on-press (in relative terms, as the car is on the assembly line).
my question to Lotus would be if these are hand-built exotic cars, essentially one of a kinds, why couldn't we (for example) oder the carpeting, sound insulation and electric windows as separate line items? as opposed to only as the package. i personally don't like leather seating surfaces, and prefer the breatability and non-slip feel of cloth, but would have like some of the other elements of the touring package. i understand and appreciate the minimalism of the car, but within the realm of what is offered, how much more work is it to add 3 line items instead of 1 group package??
for one, they could make a few more dollars, and two the added personalization of the exotics would make these cars/the Lotus brand that much more exclusive. with the bigger and far more complex builders like GM, you can order individual items as mentioned above, and their logistics are greater in complexity. as a (fellow) small business, i would like to know what the reason for their inability to handle that level of detail? quite often i have clients express their amazement that my small studio produces projects that are on-par with the larger agencies ...
I think you're spot on regarding options, and I suspect something along those lines will be in the offing but certainly not for a bit yet. Restricting the options eased the build process and probably has made it easier to have inventory control and to also streamline and improve the process. I think us first years are essentially providing the learning curve for Lotus in the US. Remember they want to have a long term presence here.
I can tell you that suggestions individuals have made during this process have been heeded by them. They are listening to us.