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Here's my personal opinion about the allocation rumors:

In the early days, Lotus claims even allocation across the board. This is mostly so that the dealers stay excited about being Lotus dealers (in light of the disappearance of the Espirit). The secondary reason is so that dealers can take orders, and create some buzz around the car. Remember, Lotus never promised any dealer anything. Some had preliminary knowledge about allocation, but the "offcial" word (which was still seemingly through the rumor mill) was that allocation was going to be split evenly between everyone. That was always in direct contradiction with the preliminary numbers that many dealers were given.

But then, after orders are taken, we come to find out that the story is much different.

Some small dealers are saying things like "the 1st 10 in August, then no more until spring" But frankly, we haven't heard anything about allocation from the big dealers. I think the best way to find out is to call your dealer, and ask them when they expect to get your car. Nothing else matters other than what your dealer can tell you. They might be lying scum sometimes, but they're the only people you can really trust.

Some people have extrapolated a tiny amount of information out to production delays and other armageddon theories. I don't think this is true. Lotus has to produce their ~2000 cars this year. They run a business, and selling cars makes them money. If they don't sell, they won't break even on this venture, which has already cost them millions. Remember that the Elise has a fixed endpoint of 2006, because of the exemptions. They wouldn't have even started coming to the U.S. if they didn't think that they could make money in that time period. Going from 2000 to 500 in the first year cuts into those profits too deeply to make any sense at all. Thats not how to build a presence in the U.S., and I see no reason why they would be having delays, based on the 111R sales and deliveries.

I think that the reasoning behind allocation differences is purely in marketing: They want cars on the road not in garages. This is their marketing. They aren't going to be running any other advertisements, so the cars have to "sell themselves." If they were to deliver cars in December, January, and February into places like Minnesota, then you can be assured that those cars won't hit the road until spring, many months later.

So, warm weather dealers get cars through the winter, and everybody else suffers. None of the big dealers (which are in warm climets) have yet to speak up on allocation, and I suspect that we won't know until the cars start arriving (or don't arrive). We'll just have to sit tight. I still think we'll see ~2000 cars the first year, which I'll call May '04 - May '05.

Steve
 

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Keep in mind that the model year for Lotus goes from April 1 to March 30... 2000 cars/year is based on their production year. I'd only expect 3/4 of those by a december calendar year.

The original number from lotus was 2400 in the first year, which would be ~1800 cars in the US by december 2005. That's speculation.

Regardless of the wait... I can't wait! It's going to be one hell of a fantastic day - whenever it comes!

My last 2c... Lotus isn't going to be making much profit [if any] on this first run of the Elise. They probably knew that going into this. It's much easier to raise the price of car everyone already wants than it is to create need for a car that might be priced just a bit too high... I know that another 10g for the car and I probably would have waited for it to arrive before tossing down. But, it wasn't. So I threw down as quick as I could without doubt in my mind it was a fantastic value!

I'm still going by what Arnie Johnson told me at the LA Auto Show after we chatted for well over an hour... That I'd probably get my Elise sometime the end of the summer... Good enough for me then, good enough now.
 

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jdl8r said:

My last 2c... Lotus isn't going to be making much profit [if any] on this first run of the Elise. They probably knew that going into this.
Not to mention the added pressure of the demise of the dollar. Maybe they are thinking of stockpiling the car and delay delivery to try to not take as much a hit (as it has been speculated for some time now.)
 

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babak said:
Not to mention the added pressure of the demise of the dollar. Maybe they are thinking of stockpiling the car and delay delivery to try to not take as much a hit (as it has been speculated for some time now.)
The dollar rebounded a bit yesterday. It's at $1.81 to the pound.
 

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Technology Reinforced Speculation

A while back I created an Excel spreadsheet to help estimate my delivery date. It attempts to factor in things like production ramp and dealer allocation. Based on this, I should get my car in July. June would be a great suprise, and August wouldn't be dissapointing. Download and play with your assumptions.

Just so that we're clear, I don't no nuthin about allocation or Lotus's production capacity. This is just math. Assuming that no other manufacturer releases a car that runs 06-0 in under 5 seconds, corners at over 1G and costs less than 50k, I'll buy mine when it comes in.
 

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