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Discussion Starter #1
Michael Sands (www.sandsmuseum.com) interviewed several Lotus folks during the media days at the LA Auto Show. He has posted some info gleaned from these interviews, as well as lots of pix as mentioned previously.

A few points:

manufacturing is scheduled to start in May, with shipments that same month.

no allocations have been made and no dealer knows how many cars they will be getting.

not all details of the car have been finalized, so what we see at the auto show may not totally represent the final version, and thus final weight, 0-60 times, etc are not yet available.

Lotus will not police the dealers and will not require them to sell cars at MSRP, since the dealers are completely separate entities and Lotus is limited legally in what they could do.

Lotus does not plan to expand production via double or triple shifts.

Toyota dealers will not be able to service the Elise, and Lotus does not plan to make special provisions for servicing for those not located near a Lotus dealership.

Lotus expects to sell some cars to old geezers like me, but assumes that we will park it next to our other fancy, expensive cars and use it sparingly [Note: definitely not true in my case, as my only other car is a 14-year-old Miata and I plan to drive the Elise as much as possible].

Interesting reading.
 

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I was thinking maybe I could get my car by late summer being in the 40's but now I will be lucky to get it by December. What a drag.
 

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I like this quote about marketing ...

What are the challenges of marketing this car?

None. The cars for the first year are sold. The cars for the second year are probably sold and the first and second year buyers will sell more. There is some concern about people buying the car that do not understand it and therefore being disappointed.

I just finished a history of lotus cars ... apparently throughout their history they typically sold like crazy to a set of enthusiasts and not much at all to anyone else
:D
 

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Anybody get the Sands Videos to Load?

They won't load for me
 

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I'm number 55 at overseas in dallas, i figured i'll get mine by about DEC of o4, what do ya'll think? Hope so!
 

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Delivery dates

From what I've read so far, manufacturing is going to start in May. Typically, Lotus have taken 2-3 months from manufacturing start to customers getting their cars. With the S2 Elise, this slipped to 8-9 months due to development issues, which hopefully won't re-occur this time round. The biggest delays are always in quality issues.

Once the line is up and running cars can be made in the thousands per year. It would be safe to say that the US market may account for about 50% of production initially. It will be interesting to see what effect ity has on the UK and European markets. We may start to see queues over here again.

I don't know how many dealers there are in the USA but if you are number 50 on the list, the delay shouldn't be too bad (6-9 months?). I had to wait 9 months for my car back here in the UK a few years back.

It's good to see the old enthusiam for the Elise being rekindled on the other side of the pond. We've had this car for so long now and started to take it for granted. I just hope it meets you expectations and you are not expecting a Boxster like experience. It's raw but amazing fun.

Spare parts are going to be a nightmare to get hold off in the first year so be careful guys!
 

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Im more than a little disappointed that they're now saying that you'll have to take the car to the dealer for work. That means a roll back ride from Kentucky to Georgia for me...and I guess I'll be paying for that out of pocket too!

Clyde told me that he thought that they were going to "work something out" for people like me.


:(
 

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First two years of cars already sold....

He seems pretty confiident that the first two years of cars have already been sold. Think this is true? I'd hate to think if I ordered one now I wouldn't get it for 3 years.

Jeremy
 

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Re: First two years of cars already sold....

JeremyR said:
He seems pretty confiident that the first two years of cars have already been sold. Think this is true? I'd hate to think if I ordered one now I wouldn't get it for 3 years.

Jeremy
At this point, I would'nt order a car, I would wait for one of the cars that come up for sale shortly after delivery due to divorce, ppl not getting what they expected etc. There will likely be very low mileage examples available a couple months after deliveries begin. You just might not get one the exact way you want it.
 

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OneFastMiata said:
Im more than a little disappointed that they're now saying that you'll have to take the car to the dealer for work. That means a roll back ride from Kentucky to Georgia for me...and I guess I'll be paying for that out of pocket too!

Clyde told me that he thought that they were going to "work something out" for people like me.


:(
Yea, that's a shame... and it definitely isn't going to help Lotus to expand their customer base. I'm "lucky" in that I have a dealership about 1.5hrs from my house, and even that is a bit of a ride.
 

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Re: Delivery dates

rjc said:
[It's good to see the old enthusiam for the Elise being rekindled on the other side of the pond. We've had this car for so long now and started to take it for granted. I just hope it meets you expectations and you are not expecting a Boxster like experience. It's raw but amazing fun.

Curious, if you could describe the difference between the Boxster and the Elise ...

As for being raw sounds like traditional Chapman design. Hope it doesn't leak in the rain according to the Chapman tradition :) ...

Personally, one of the reasons I want the car so bad is its uncompromising focus on driving (what you want a radio? air conditioner? what are you doing? Driving or what? get a station wagon!) I know its made more plush for us colonials (we like our beer cold after all!) but it sound very true to the traditional spirit of Lotus ....;) :p
 

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Re: Re: Delivery dates

GHC said:

As for being raw sounds like traditional Chapman design. Hope it doesn't leak in the rain according to the Chapman tradition :) ...




It requires testing work to assure each car of a leak. Usually they just happen, but sometimes the pieces just fit properly and then they are required to grind off a bit of gasket so you can have the traditional leak.


Steve
 

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leaks ... I stand corrected

you are right. I should have said:

I HOPE it leaks in the rain.

Lets see, leaks in the rain, windows pop out at inconvenient moments, weight of a feather and drives like a dream ... that’s the original recipe.

G
 

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They have a booth set up in the factory for leak testing. They make sure that all the cars DON'T leak before they send them out. It is up to you to get the leaks right where they are most inconvenient for you.;)
 

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Discussion Starter #15
OneFastMiata said:
Im more than a little disappointed that they're now saying that you'll have to take the car to the dealer for work. That means a roll back ride from Kentucky to Georgia for me...and I guess I'll be paying for that out of pocket too!

Clyde told me that he thought that they were going to "work something out" for people like me.


:(
I wouldn't give up hope yet. Lotus does plan to expand the dealer network, although that will take some time. And they may yet work something out; they appear to take building cars really seriously, but admin details do not seem to be their strong suit (just my impressions).

I believe Nick told me that you need initial servicing at 1000 miles and then every 7000 miles or at least once a year.
 

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If you order the soft top only, you can expect it to leak at some point. The design simply isn't meant to be fully water proof. The hard top is better but there are some pretty large tolerances allowed for panel and seal gaps. I've yet to see a booth at the factory for testing the cars are waterproof. This sounds like a myth to me but I haven't been there for a few months (it's a 40 minute drive from me). The current roof is miles better than the old style S1 roof but it is far from perfect.

The car is raw but feels amazingly solid. They is no scuttle shake. It doesn't have the solidity and interior feel of quality of the Boxster though. The original car was very spartan inside with raw aluminium all over the place. The S2 is much more up market, with leather, aircon, radio, etc. For me, my old S1 was better with it's cloth seats, no radio, and just a stack dash. Despite what people say over here, about the Elise going soft, it is still a very dynamic and involving car, which is more reliable and easier to live with, for the gradual developments that have taken place. It would have been nice to keep the weight down more though. The bootom line is that engineering compromises have been made to save weight and it simply does have the solidity and reliablility of some other 'sports' cars. In this respect it is a true Lotus.

The bodywork is relatively flimsy and you don't want to hit anything. The paint work is also quite soft so the odd ding will leave a scratch in the paintwork. I was very wary about my kids pushbikes getting near my Elise as they can do a lot of damage. If another car hits it, while parking say, it's going to do damage and crack the bodywork. You can expect a serious amount of stone chips very quickly, especially if you do motorway/freeway/interstate(?) miles. The car is very low and gravel thrown up can often drop down over the windscreen and hit you on the forehead. There are quite a few stories of rear windows being taken out by stones too.

Bearing in mind the original Elise was meant to be 600kg but came out at 721kg, before gradually creeping upwards to the current US variant at about 890kg, it is not the lightweight it once was. It is still a truly involving drive and incredibly addictive on the right roads. You are lucky enough to be getting a 190bhp which makes it a seriously quick car on UK A and B roads.

I guess in some states, you can't live without aircon but for me it's against the Elise principles. Drop the audio system too if you can. It's a distraction over the real drving pleasure. Electric windows are another thing to miss and despite what people are saying, they do add weight. If you do backlane twisty driving, then get the driving lights. The Elise lights are not briliant. I'm not so keen on the airbag myself but in todays world, I guess it makes sense.

The Elise will definately benefit from ABS, especially as Lotus seem to have set it up, with driver involvement being the key issue. I've had a few scares, when I really wanted anti-lock brakes to be there for me. I've yet to drive an Elise with ABS so I can't comment on the brake feel but on the basic non-ABS Elise, the brakes are one of the most amazing features once you get used to the non-servo assistance. so many people describe them as wooden but they simply haven't lived with the car long enough to understand. The feedback is quite unreal, once you are into the car properly. It will be interesting to see what impact this has on steering feel too. The Elise is such a talkative car. I could feel the undulations on my drive as I drove off, coming back through the wheel. Quite amazing.

I think safety issue will crop up at some point in the USA. The Elise is seriously strong. I crashed mine at 90mph and walked away from it. Big repair bill though. If you hit another car, it's another story, especially as you seem to have a large number of 4x4 type vehicles with big ground clearance. A vehicle like this will most likely ride over the top of an Elise and kill the driver. It's happened in the UK at least once that I'm aware of.

To be honest, I'm envious. This latest incarnation of the Elise is slightly compromised compared to the original concept but it has also evolved into a better car in many respects and the basic character and handling of the Elise remains. If I had the money, this is the car that I would buy next.

As far as options go, unless you want an track day car, I would skip the performance pack. The tyres are horrendous in the wet. The hard-top is a must if you have a winter like we do in the UK. It also changes the whole car in terms of sound and driving experience. It is a much nicer car to drive roof off though. I put carpets in my Elise and I would recommend them. They make life easier on your heels and are essential if you drive barefoot. (Trust me, you shoud try it). For some this is against the Elise philosphy, but it made it a better car to drive in my view.

We've had the Elise here for some time now and the general view is to leave the car as standard for the first year and concentrate on upgrading the driver first. When you see it in the hands of a professional, it really does make you realise how much you have to learn before it is worth contemplating improving the car. It will be interesting to see how the UK aftermarket suppliers of parts and accessories get on in the USA. There is a real opportunity out there for someone with the knowledge and connections to the best companies and suppliers in the UK. All the bits the American market could ever want are already available and tested.
 

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Rob, thanks for all the info! It's always great hearing from other Elise owners.

Safety is indeed a concern with the large numbers of SUVs we have here and the morons that typically drive them. However, the Elise seems well protected on the sides and rear, it's only the front that's a possible problem (in relation to being hit by another car). I'm counting on the Elise's handling to help me get out of any situation threatening that.
 

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Ron, thanks for a very informative reply

Ron,

Thanks for your very informative reply.

I would do without the touring package myself but my wife wants it and she is being very reasonable about a very expensive purchase so ...

On the other hand, I have leather package Miata M2 and it seems really silly to have power windows on a car where I can easily reach across and roll the passenger side window down.

The AC actually comes quite in handy even with the top down (about the only way I drive the car unless raining) in the summer as a convertable can become quite hot. Turning the AC on, helps strangley enough.

As for the full leather seats, I would rather not, as they get hot, are more work to maintain and are wasted if you pull them out to put in racing seats.

The leather does look nice.

I am glad to hear that you think the Elise remains true to Colin's original vision and constant quest to create beautifully simple lightweight engineering masterpieces.;)
 

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