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Discussion Starter #1
I can finally justify buying a Lotus, but I am a little perplexed at how well the values for used Lotuses are holding up. It is not my intention to make any enemies with this post, I'm simply looking for guidance on whether buying used v. new makes sense. Why are the Elise values holding up so well compared to other sports cars?

Currently it seems like '05s with few options under 25-30K miles are selling or at least listing in the low to mid $20k's judging from Ebay and this board. We'll call it $24K. However, the new Purist edition that is rolling out later this year is MSRP ~ $44K and the current Elise starts at ~$48K. So after 5 years of ownership, the average annual depreciation is +/- $4K compared to the Purist. This sounds like a good deal at less than $350/mo of depreciation cost excluding time value of money or anything like that.

Then, I compare this with the BMW M3 convertible lease residuals which isn't a perfect comparable, but in Nov. 2008 if you bought the new '09 the residual on a 5 year lease was 32% of MSRP! (granted, they add back 3% for driving less than 10K mile per year, and as of June 2009 it is still 32% residual for the remaining 09s but you probably get a nice discount for taking one of those.) The Porsche Boxter 60 mo. residual as of last August was 34-37% of residual depending on the model. This compares with ~ 50% implied residual value on a bare bones Elise. (Sources below)

This brings me to my question - what gives? It seems like a clear value play to buy new given my perceived current market value of 2005 Elises.

Thanks in advance for the feedback,
Doug


BMW Auto Lease Rates - November 2008 - bimmerfest - BMW Forums

'08 Porsche Boxster Lease Rates - 8/08 - Financing/Leasing Message Board

Porsche Cayman Auto Lease Rates - January 2009 - Planet Porsche
 

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I can finally justify buying a Lotus, but I am a little perplexed at how well the values for used Lotuses are holding up. It is not my intention to make any enemies with this post, I'm simply looking for guidance on whether buying used v. new makes sense. Why are the Elise values holding up so well compared to other sports cars?
unless I'm misreading, I don't think you'll make any enemies telling us our cars values are holding up well. :D (especially in todays economy)

new vs used is always a tricky decision to make, really depends on your income/budget and if/when you wish to sell later on.

Why do the hold their values well compared to other sports cars?
lots of factors.
One is the fact that they're produced in such limited numbers, and even fewer in recent years it seems.

arguably making it an "exotic" (or quasi-exotic) sports car.
and anything exotic will hold it's value better over the years.
 

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and anything exotic will hold it's value better over the years.
Unless it's an Audi/Lamborghini. :p

They hold their value pretty well as the cars have limited production numbers, and are quite popular in the market segment they're aimed at. There really isn't anything else of note in the US market like the Elise/Exige at anywhere near its price point.
 

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I think it was the edmunds.com report on how well cars hold their value that rannked the Elise at #1. The Exige came in #2. I forget the rest other than remembering Mini was in the top 10.

They hold their value, a fact that I appreciate, even though I'm not selling.
 

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Too funny.

Over the years, there have been many postings by Lotus owners whining and bitching about the rapid rate of depreciation of their Elises and Exiges. :panic:

It appears that the Elise and Exige seem to be holding up reasonably well.
 

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I guess they're holding up well b/c they are such a unique car. Anyone who had one and brought it for the right reasons doesn't wanna get rid of it b/c there's nothing that you can replace it with. Well, there are a couple of cars, but they would be less practical or way out of the Lotus' price range.
 

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haha yeah they depreciate WAY too fast for it being a specialty car! (I'm one of the people that bitches about the horrible depreciation :D )

You can't throw a stone without hitting an M3 in any affluent part of the country... seeing a Lotus is a rare event.

They retain their value simply because of the low numbers of them. I wouldn't be surprised if the value of 05's starts to go back up after this recession is over.
 

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Currently it seems like '05s with few options under 25-30K miles are selling or at least listing in the low to mid $20k's judging from Ebay and this board. We'll call it $24K.[/url]
I just purchased an '05 Elise (4,500 miles) a few weeks ago for $30,500. That was actually the "trade-in" price (not to be confused with trade-in value), as I traded in an '08 Toyota FJ Cruiser (which they "gave" me $21,500 for). However, I could have bought the Elise outright for $29,000. I searched ebay, cars.com, autotrader.com, craigslist, the classifieds on this forum, etc. at least a few times every single day for over a month, and I only recall seeing one, maybe two Elises priced below $25K. Unless things have changed drastically in the last 3 or 4 weeks, I think if you look more closely, you'll see the current average asking price is more than $24K (more like $27K-$30K).
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I guess the second logical question given the implied scarcity premium is what are the lead times like for new orders? If I go to a dealer and say I want a white Elise with no options, is that a 6 mo wait? A year wait? If it's a short wait then the idea that they are scarce makes no sense.

Kabinski, I'm judging $24K because I see ones on the forum with 20Kish miles that say things like $26 and 27 obo, and I'll bet you if I have a 3 month buying window and walk around with cash to visit these cars I could walk away with one for 24 easily. At least that's my perceived market value of a base Elise. A current snapshot from ebay agrees, as there is a 15k mile 2005 sold from a dealer for $27 (and you'd easily pay 10% more buying from a dealer than private party) and a 40K 2006 here that went for 24. But back on topic, does it take months or years to get an Elise made to order?

Lotus : Elise:eBay Motors (item 130308881690 end time Jun-01-09 18:23:43 PDT)
 

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I'm envisioning a time in the not-too-far-off future where any purely gasoline powered small sports cars is going to be quite valuable. I'm looking forward to teaching my future kids about what cars used to be like :)

I'm just hoping that gas will still be easy to come by 30 years from now.

sorry to derail.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
No, that's definitely a good point. I'd written off the Elise as purely an object of lust because it was impractical and decided to get a 4 seater, but then I realized a 4 seater is impractical given there are only 3 or 4 times this year that I used more than 2 seats or hauled anything in my car, and at least 2 of those times were avoidable "sure I'll drive" moments compared with 15 miles to work RT 5x a week. Except for the whole no bumpers bit it's more practical. That said, back to determining scarcity premium and order lead times!
 

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Your 35% residual BMW is likely to have 75k miles on it . Your 50% of value resold elise is likely to have 20k miles.... The evolution of luxury gt cars gives them more of a life cycle than a lotus. Ther wont be any evololution in minimalisim of a lotus making it a bit less "obsoleteable". In otherwords the latest and greatest means more in the bmw world than it does in the lotus world...
 

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Discussion Starter #14
That's a good call on the latest and greatest, I'd been thinking about the "new version" premium. There's a nice little step between the 2007 and 2006 3 series currently. It'll be interesting to see if the Evora rocks the boat at all, or if the Elise and the Evora are too different.

In further news, tying together some datapoints, I'm not so sure what to think about the "scarcity premium" given that there is apparently 2008 and even 2007 "new" dealer inventory still sitting around. If the Elises were truly scarce you'd have to be on a waiting list, right? This was a post from kingpin last month:

http://www.lotustalk.com/forums/f3/2-year-old-brand-new-elise-any-concerns-73332/
 

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I said it recently somewhere else but I'll repeat it here. I don't see how one could buy a new elise for 50k when you can buy an 07 exige s for 40 k on this board. The purist edition seems like a reasonable value but what I would care most about on these cars is the proper options. I would want lss (sport) pack) and hardtop bare minimum. I would LOVE to have an lsd but that is a rare option. That is a 50k+ car new. You can buy a similar car here barely used (10k miles or so) for well under 30.
 

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I said it recently somewhere else but I'll repeat it here. I don't see how one could buy a new elise for 50k when you can buy an 07 exige s for 40 k on this board. The purist edition seems like a reasonable value but what I would care most about on these cars is the proper options. I would want lss (sport) pack) and hardtop bare minimum. I would LOVE to have an lsd but that is a rare option. That is a 50k+ car new. You can buy a similar car here barely used (10k miles or so) for well under 30.
That goes for any car. A new vette convertible with some options near's 70K! So you could say, "no thank's, I'll take a Z06 with 10,000 mile's and save $20K... or spend an extra 20k and get a Gallardo. Pretty easy for me to forget about new cars.
 

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^ absolutely. I don't buy new cars.
 

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I find this somewhat funny because there was an evaluation of all cars in the north american market a couple of years ago as it pertains to residuals and the Elise and Exige were #1 and #2. It was posted on the forum here and there was a huge outcry that it was a bunch of bull. Here we are 2 years later and TA DA, guess what, they were right. Because of the type of car the Elise and Exige are and the segment of the market they occupy, they are better adjusted to the pre-owned market than cars like the M3 or Carrera. Hopefully Lotus will complete their Leasing program soon which will take advantage of this and allow a surge of sales based on low monthly payments that will help fuel future sales growth in the Evora and the Elise Replacement.
 

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I'll toss in my guess as to why used values are holding up. The Elise attracts more of a "hands-on" kind of owner, they're willing to do the kind of minor repairs that might be necessary on a used car. If that's the case, a decent used one is about as good as a new one.
 

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I really don't think the Lotus holds value well at all. Sure it is still 25k after 4 years...when it originally was 53 and the car only has 9,000 miles on it.


In 03 I bought a 2001 Honda S2000 with 23k miles for $22k. 3 years later, with 68k miles on it I sold the car for $18500. That's holding value well. My Exige S has lost over $23,000 in the last year and a half. :shrug:
 
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