The Lotus Cars Community banner

1 - 20 of 23 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,155 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
this is copied from www.pistonheads.com. An enthusiasts website based in the UK...

------------------------------------------

Green light for supercar, red for more powerful Elise/Exige

PistonHeads (PH) grabbed the opportunity to talk to three Lotus executives recently to get a feel for where the company's going, especially with respect to the forthcoming supercar.



We spoke to:

Victor Kiam (VK), commercial director and shareholder’s representative of Group Lotus
Chris Arnold (CA), head of Lotus Motorsport
Andreas Maenner (AM), European Press Officer of Lotus Cars Ltd.

PH: Mr Kiam, how long have you been with Group Lotus, and how's the company doing?

VK: About three years. We are very satisfied with the actual situation of Lotus Cars. We returned to America this summer and it has been very successful.

PH: Is America the only interesting market at the moment ? European sales are dropping, especially in Germany.

VK: At the moment, nearly 50 per cent of our production is sold to America. Other important markets are the UK and Japan followed by key countries in the mainland of Europe. We sold fewer cars in Europe than last year, but we don't have a general problem in Europe, it' s only a problem of supplying three new products – the Elise 111R, the federal Elise and the Exige.

To maintain our high quality, we ramped up the volumes slowly and steadily so there was no drop in supply. We are now ramped up and our plant in Hethel is working to capacity, producing 125 cars per week. The delivery time for a Lotus in Europe is about three months, in America you still have to wait longer.

PH: In America you are only offering the Elise 111R, is it also planed to
sell the Exige (above) in America?

VK: No, it is not planned in the near future.

PH: Which new Lotus will we see in the future?

VK: We are working on a new range of cars including a new mid engine supercar.

PH: When will it hit the road?

VK: You know it takes time to develop a car, it's not possible from one day to the next, but we won’t give a firmer time constraint than “a few years time”.

PH: In what stage of development is the new "Supercar" at the moment? Has the design already been confirmed?

AM: Development of this vehicle has high priority right now. We will - as a principle - not comment in detail on the stage of development of any project.

PH: What about the supercar's engine - will it be V8 or V10, Lotus-developed or bought-in ?

AM: We are assessing a number of options but will not announce the route that we have chosen for the engine yet.

PH: Are there any plans for a car between the Elise and the ”Supercar“?

AM: We are looking at this type of car at the moment, but it is a concept and feasibility study at the moment. We can't disclose more details right now.

PH: Can we expect a more powerful Elise or Exige?

CA: No, for the time being we don't have the capacity at Lotus Motorsport. It's not only to develop a tuning kit for the engine. The brakes, clutch, gear box etc. must also be modified and we don't have the time for this now.

PH: The spectators and some customers at the Lotus Cup Europe claimed that the sound of the actual Elise / Exige isn't exciting.

CA: It's no problem to develop a loud exhaust, but our cars are all road legal, even the Cup - Exige. Our exhaust respects the current laws regarding emission and on many tracks there are also strict noise limits.

PH: The first season of the Lotus Cup Europe is now over. Did you have any problems with the cars?

CA: No mechanical problems at all. There were only some damages to the cars through accidents.

PH: Is the Cup - Exige a limited edition?

CA: No, it's only limited to our capacity at Lotus Motorsport.

PH: Are there any modifications planned for the Elise within the next year?

AM: No, we have spent time and money to fit the Toyota engine into the Elise. The rear structure of the 111R is new, developed to fit this new engine. At the moment no further modifications are planned.

PH: What can we expect for the Geneva motor show next year?

AM: Let's wait and see...

PH: Gentlemen, thank you.

--------------------------------------------------

Definitely interesting stuff. At least from that it looks like the Esprit replacement is the priority in development at the moment, and any mid model is behind that.

The other good news there is it looks like the Elise is not funamentally changing for a good while.
 

·
shay2nak
Joined
·
25,083 Posts
thanks, Steve

looks like we are going to have to increase power ourselves and bring the Exige here ourselves.

Lotus is right about spending a lot of time on the Exige/Elise and to have to redesign several components again for the increase in power doesn't sound logical for them right now. At least the factory is at full capacity.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
670 Posts
Steve W said:


The other good news there is it looks like the Elise is not funamentally changing for a good while.
Agreed. It would really irritate me to wait all this time, shell out $45K just to own a car that is made to look like a POS when the 2006 comes out. My very least favorite thing car makers do.

Steve
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8,270 Posts
Steve W said:

The other good news there is it looks like the Elise is not funamentally changing for a good while.
I wonder what that means in the context of the DOT waiver? They may not have a plan to change much, but the waiver doesn't leave them any choice.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,927 Posts
babak- I'd read that as there sticking with the current chassis. The '07 may only be reworked for bumpers and headlights.

EDIT- reading the interview itself, not sure if there is any real ammo for what I just said.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,269 Posts
125 cars per week translates into 6,500
cars per year.....or maybe a bit less if you
allow a few weeks odd for summer vacation. Would seem to imply that U.S.
annual production would realize at least
3,000 cars instead of the 2,200-2,300 we
were expecting originally, based on our
still getting half of the pie.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,438 Posts
Re: Re: Interview with the Lotus Guys

babak said:
I wonder what that means in the context of the DOT waiver? They may not have a plan to change much, but the waiver doesn't leave them any choice.
Did'nt Lotus just keep extending the waivers for the Esprit?

edit- And there's this comment below the article:

"Never believe a word Lotus says."
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,802 Posts
My understanding was the increase in production was not a permanent move but an effort to catch up to planned production for the year.
Certainly hope not, cuz I think they'll have a hard time selling 3000 elises a year into the future.
Chris
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,308 Posts
STEVE W

Thanks for the post. Good info but bad news for those wanting an Exige in the U.S.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,927 Posts
Chris- you beat me to it. Also with the slow ramp up the first 3-4 months the bump in production may only allow them to catcth up to 2300 for a years time.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8,270 Posts
Ridgemanron said:
125 cars per week translates into 6,500
cars per year.....or maybe a bit less if you
allow a few weeks odd for summer vacation. Would seem to imply that U.S.
annual production would realize at least
3,000 cars instead of the 2,200-2,300 we
were expecting originally, based on our
still getting half of the pie.
Talk about waaay off topic, but Ridge, do you hit 'return' when you get to the edge of the msg window? It seems that your posts are consistently roughly the same size and don't fill the space. Just off beat curiosity. Yes I'm on meds, no they're not working :D
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
758 Posts
- So, what you working on ?

- Not allowed to say, sorry.

- Yeh, but what size engine is it gonna have ?

- Not allowed to say, sorry.

- Well, when's it gonna be ready ?

- Not allowed to say, sorry.

- What are you gonna call it ?

- Not allowed to say, sorry.

- Can you tell us anything useful ?

- Not allowed to say, sorry.
 

·
insert clever title here
Joined
·
7,702 Posts
Steve W said:
PH: In America you are only offering the Elise 111R, is it also planed to
sell the Exige (above) in America?

VK: No, it is not planned in the near future.
Not that I would expect Lotus to say much, but...as Gromit pointed out, this interview resulted in a whole lot of nothing. For example, the above statement uses the phrase "near future". To me, that means that a 2006 model year Exige is still a possibility for the US. I admit a forced induction Elise/Exige sounds less and less likely.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
352 Posts
My prediction is, if the Exige ever sees American shores, it will only come over when Elise sales flatten out. It would be, from a business standpoint, very foolish to introduce a 2nd product when you are having trouble dealing with your current line. Combined with the fact that the Exige may not be a great seller anyway, and my view is it will only arrive, if it does, when Lotus needs some new publicity to juice up their image and attract interest in their (few) showrooms.



DLY
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,269 Posts
babak said:
Talk about waaay off topic, but Ridge, do you hit 'return' when you get to the edge of the msg window? It seems that your posts are consistently roughly the same size and don't fill the space. Just off beat curiosity. Yes I'm on meds, no they're not working :D
Topeka, KS......Didn't realize we had any-
one in the 'dust bowl' of America who was interested in the Elise as a second
vehicle next to their tractor. P.S. - Randy
gives me a lot of space to vent but my
'vent meter' takes time to build up to
overload levels. In the words of Gen. MacArthur, 'I shall RETURN......properly
some day!'
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
670 Posts
Gromit said:
- So, what you working on ?

- Not allowed to say, sorry.

- Yeh, but what size engine is it gonna have ?

- Not allowed to say, sorry.

- Well, when's it gonna be ready ?

- Not allowed to say, sorry.

- What are you gonna call it ?

- Not allowed to say, sorry.

- Can you tell us anything useful ?

- Not allowed to say, sorry.
Keep posting insightful material like this and Lotus may offer you a job heading up their public information department. :D
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,154 Posts
Sownman said:
Keep posting insightful material like this and Lotus may offer you a job heading up their public information department. :D
I'm with you. When I read this, I was struck by the total refusal to offer any useful info whatsoever. What a fluff piece.
 
1 - 20 of 23 Posts
Top