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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
TomE and myself had the great privilege of supporting Lotus in ascertaining where they are really at, from a customers point of view.

We were hosted by Matt Windle (MD), Geoff Dowding (Commercial Director) and Scott Walker (Head of UK Sales) and special thanks to Charlotte for keeping us on schedule!



The Tour

We were given a fantastically, detailed, full-access tour, by Scott Walker, on both the old and new facilities.

The first words here that spring to mind are Quality Control, Perfectionism and Attention to Detail.

The vast investment by Geely into the new facility is immediately obvious, like being smacked around the jaw by a wet engine cover.

The difference between the old-school, which was admittedly, relatively shabby and the new high-tech, millions spent on, robotic and laser measuring equipment was incredible.

My main take-away from the day is that Lotus, contrary to some beliefs on the web, are working VERY VERY hard, in a very difficult global market, to get all the cars out as originally promised this year. This is seen in the investment in both the tech and the staffing levels.

I was utterly amazed at the laser focused body panel checker. The car gets checked over to a fraction of a millimetre by a 360 degree laser guided machine. This checks that every single Emira off the line is exactly the same. This ensures that each car has remarkably exacting panel-gaps and alignment. They do this once the chassis gets bonded to the body and once after competition as a double check.

This ethos of quality control and double checking carried on throughout the whole process which was broken down on the tour. We saw the seats, although Pre-Production, looking much deeper and body encompassing, the front, nappa leather covered fascia which was rock solid, and just how everything comes together in a well thought out way.

What we didn't see was the actual wheels. We saw i4 engines and the automatic V6.

Conclusion - The final build quality will match the Germans, perhaps improve on them in some areas. I feel very rest assured on this.



The Colours

Okay, okay. This is the bit most want to know about. Tom and I saw all of the FE colours in the flesh, though only the Magma Red was seen in both direct sunlight and shade conditions.

My thoughts, Tom will add his own.

First impression.. It now ALL makes sense. People have often mentioned "why didn't they just release the FE in traditional colours that we all know and like".

It was immediately clear to me that Lotus wanted to show just how damn good the paint is and also to exude prestige and class. Shadow Grey is perhaps the most similar and standard to other makers and the Seneca Blue, somewhat comparable to other cars, has an ability to look both interestingly pastel and metallic. The other colours are full of depth and quite unique.

Hethel Yellow - I would call this a classy yellow. It is yellow with a warmth to it. That English Mustard soft hue perhaps in one layer. Do not worry about this being the only non-metallic colour. it pops out the most of all of the colours, strikingly bold, yet luxuriant.

Magma Red - Wow. Ha. Better than I had even hoped. The colour travel on this is remarkable. The speckle in the metallic on this and the other metallic cars is amazing and really makes them stand out. This red I have not seen before. it is NOT Fire Red. It pops more in light, with a lovely gold fleck and the colour in the shade is rich and exudes quality.

Nimbus Grey - Ha. No grey on this car, except perhaps from space. it is a stunning colour which I would call Super LIght Bronze Silver. It has this bronzey, browny subtle tint which lifts it up from being 'just' a silver car. Again, Lotus have gone for a look or richness and quality. Stunning. If you have ordered this you will be blown away.

Dark Verdant - Yes, the clue is indeed in the name. It is very dark and I thought it was a black car until about 4 yards away from it. We shone light on it and the heavy fleck then really pops and I have a feeling it will feel the most prestige colour of all but it is dark, no getting away from that. Personally, I would not get a black roof with this colour. I think it would look great with silver wheels as complete contrast package to drop jaws.

Other colours - well, we saw a white car which would possibly be THE colour to go for on the next editions such is the powerful play of white on black. We saw a black car, which still suited it, and we saw a Ferrari Red car, again fabulous and likely to make it to the next edition options.

We also saw a car with the black pack roof.

Suspension

A major point of confusion amongst us, this was helped greatly by their development driver, Dries, an endearing Belgian chap who knows the car inside out, is which suspension to go for - Sports or Touring.

@TomE and I had a great chat with him and we pretty much have come to the same conclusion.

Touring - Most ideal for most people. Absolutely perfect for those who will use the car as a daily driver and it is there only car. Still capable on track.

Sports - More feel but the odd road bump will be felt more. Perfect for those who will have the car as a 2nd or 3rd car. More relevant if you will track the car occasionally.



All in all, a fabulous day out and we learned a huge amount from all of our very engaging and honest hosts.

Personally, I came away even more confident (yes, possible
:)
) that we are in VERY capable hands and we will be owners of an instant classic and future icon.

We can all look forward to a new update on the configurator from next week, more news and increased confidence in this wonderful marque.

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It was great to see so much going on at the factory. I've been there several times over the last 30 years and the difference between the old Elise/Exige/Evora production areas and the new Emira production facilities is night and day.

The machine for gluing and bonding the panels to the car is vast and like something out of a sci-fi movie. We saw one of the three robotised paint shops and the finish on the panels is stunning. There's a laser measurement station that's used to measure thousands of dimensions on every car as it proceeds through the build process, to check everything has been built within the tiny tolerances. A new rolling road, a new drench test facility, a new multi-surface test track (including cobbles and blocks) to check for rattles. Plus they have hired a number of experienced production and quality people from places like Toyota and Volvo, as well as bringing in consultancy expertise.

The stitching on the completed dash we saw was immaculate and laser straight. They're made in Germany.

Recognition from Lotus that comms hasn't been as good as it should be. But steps being taken to improve that.

A key point to remember is this is still a pre-production car. Some things are still being finalised, proven, tested. More info is about to come, to dealers and customers, over the next 2 weeks and leading up to and after press reviews in 2-3 months.
 

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It was great to see so much going on at the factory. I've been there several times over the last 30 years and the difference between the old Elise/Exige/Evora production areas and the new Emira production facilities is night and day.

The machine for gluing and bonding the panels to the car is vast and like something out of a sci-fi movie. We saw one of the three robotised paint shops and the finish on the panels is stunning. There's a laser measurement station that's used to measure thousands of dimensions on every car as it proceeds through the build process, to check everything has been built within the tiny tolerances. A new rolling road, a new drench test facility, a new multi-surface test track (including cobbles and blocks) to check for rattles. Plus they have hired a number of experienced production and quality people from places like Toyota and Volvo, as well as bringing in consultancy expertise.

The stitching on the completed dash we saw was immaculate and laser straight. They're made in Germany.

Recognition from Lotus that comms hasn't been as good as it should be. But steps being taken to improve that.

A key point to remember is this is still a pre-production car. Some things are still being finalised, proven, tested. More info is about to come, to dealers and customers, over the next 2 weeks and leading up to and after press reviews in 2-3 months.
This depth of communication and level of insight is commendable. Food for the starving for information. Thanks
 

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TomE and myself had the great privilege of supporting Lotus in ascertaining where they are really at, from a customers point of view.

We were hosted by Matt Windle (MD), Geoff Dowding (Commercial Director) and Scott Walker (Head of UK Sales) and special thanks to Charlotte for keeping us on schedule!



The Tour

We were given a fantastically, detailed, full-access tour, by Scott Walker, on both the old and new facilities.

The first words here that spring to mind are Quality Control, Perfectionism and Attention to Detail.

The vast investment by Geely into the new facility is immediately obvious, like being smacked around the jaw by a wet engine cover.

The difference between the old-school, which was admittedly, relatively shabby and the new high-tech, millions spent on, robotic and laser measuring equipment was incredible.

My main take-away from the day is that Lotus, contrary to some beliefs on the web, are working VERY VERY hard, in a very difficult global market, to get all the cars out as originally promised this year. This is seen in the investment in both the tech and the staffing levels.

I was utterly amazed at the laser focused body panel checker. The car gets checked over to a fraction of a millimetre by a 360 degree laser guided machine. This checks that every single Emira off the line is exactly the same. This ensures that each car has remarkably exacting panel-gaps and alignment. They do this once the chassis gets bonded to the body and once after competition as a double check.

This ethos of quality control and double checking carried on throughout the whole process which was broken down on the tour. We saw the seats, although Pre-Production, looking much deeper and body encompassing, the front, nappa leather covered fascia which was rock solid, and just how everything comes together in a well thought out way.

What we didn't see was the actual wheels. We saw i4 engines and the automatic V6.

Conclusion - The final build quality will match the Germans, perhaps improve on them in some areas. I feel very rest assured on this.



The Colours

Okay, okay. This is the bit most want to know about. Tom and I saw all of the FE colours in the flesh, though only the Magma Red was seen in both direct sunlight and shade conditions.

My thoughts, Tom will add his own.

First impression.. It now ALL makes sense. People have often mentioned "why didn't they just release the FE in traditional colours that we all know and like".

It was immediately clear to me that Lotus wanted to show just how damn good the paint is and also to exude prestige and class. Shadow Grey is perhaps the most similar and standard to other makers and the Seneca Blue, somewhat comparable to other cars, has an ability to look both interestingly pastel and metallic. The other colours are full of depth and quite unique.

Hethel Yellow - I would call this a classy yellow. It is yellow with a warmth to it. That English Mustard soft hue perhaps in one layer. Do not worry about this being the only non-metallic colour. it pops out the most of all of the colours, strikingly bold, yet luxuriant.

Magma Red - Wow. Ha. Better than I had even hoped. The colour travel on this is remarkable. The speckle in the metallic on this and the other metallic cars is amazing and really makes them stand out. This red I have not seen before. it is NOT Fire Red. It pops more in light, with a lovely gold fleck and the colour in the shade is rich and exudes quality.

Nimbus Grey - Ha. No grey on this car, except perhaps from space. it is a stunning colour which I would call Super LIght Bronze Silver. It has this bronzey, browny subtle tint which lifts it up from being 'just' a silver car. Again, Lotus have gone for a look or richness and quality. Stunning. If you have ordered this you will be blown away.

Dark Verdant - Yes, the clue is indeed in the name. It is very dark and I thought it was a black car until about 4 yards away from it. We shone light on it and the heavy fleck then really pops and I have a feeling it will feel the most prestige colour of all but it is dark, no getting away from that. Personally, I would not get a black roof with this colour. I think it would look great with silver wheels as complete contrast package to drop jaws.

Other colours - well, we saw a white car which would possibly be THE colour to go for on the next editions such is the powerful play of white on black. We saw a black car, which still suited it, and we saw a Ferrari Red car, again fabulous and likely to make it to the next edition options.

We also saw a car with the black pack roof.

Suspension

A major point of confusion amongst us, this was helped greatly by their development driver, Dries, an endearing Belgian chap who knows the car inside out, is which suspension to go for - Sports or Touring.

@TomE and I had a great chat with him and we pretty much have come to the same conclusion.

Touring - Most ideal for most people. Absolutely perfect for those who will use the car as a daily driver and it is there only car. Still capable on track.

Sports - More feel but the odd road bump will be felt more. Perfect for those who will have the car as a 2nd or 3rd car. More relevant if you will track the car occasionally.



All in all, a fabulous day out and we learned a huge amount from all of our very engaging and honest hosts.

Personally, I came away even more confident (yes, possible
:)
) that we are in VERY capable hands and we will be owners of an instant classic and future icon.

We can all look forward to a new update on the configurator from next week, more news and increased confidence in this wonderful marque.

View attachment 1306764


View attachment 1306762


View attachment 1306763
You have done justice to your tour and served us all well. Much appreciated.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Glad to hear about the seat bolstering being deeper in the final car. I found it inadequate in the grey car touring the USA.
Yeah, whilst I would rather it looked like the sport carbon seat option in a Ferrari :) we will all be very pleased. It looks to err on the side of comfort and support, rather than lightness of course.
 

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Thanks for the info! Did you by any chance confirm whether 700 cars for N America is for calendar 2022 or model year 2023?
We didn't talk about specific numbers but it was clear that it isn't finalised yet. The main driver of timing is gaining the relevant approvals in each country, which is a complicated process and in some cases being made more unpredictable by Covid affecting the various approval organisations. Lotus said they are re-stacking the production schedule at least once a month at the moment in light of progress on various matters.

We were told the North America dealers had all been on a briefing call with the factory in the last week and that more information on process, timings, allocations etc will be provided to them by end of January. My expectation would be that dealers then start further communication to individual deposit holders based on that info. UK dealers have also been briefed and other regions are following.

Approvals process will be further advanced over next 2-3 months, so scheduling should firm up and be clearer after that. First UK deliveries are on track for June, assuming approvals run as expected (and they are the furthest forward). The cycle for later deliveries beyond June looks like it will be to finalise your specification around 3-4 months prior to delivery.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 · (Edited)
Thanks for the info! Did you by any chance confirm whether 700 cars for N America is for calendar 2022 or model year 2023?
No figures per se but I can assure you that Lotus are well on top of the excitement and interest shown by bulging order books in the USA, and elsewhere, and the ramp up in car volume, along with some gains in efficiencies that seek to satisfy our original expectations. I was convinced that Lotus have done everything they can in the way they need do and have not dropped any balls. They were very clever, or fortunate, to have had all their components ordered and sorted in advance of the Covid related shortages.
 

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Order book still growing every day and a further surge expected after press reviews and more details being published on i4 and Base Spec in 2-3 months time. Demo cars due with UK dealers around June and will add sales. Not sure yet about timing for ROW demo cars. Second shift looks like "when" rather than "if".
 

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If you place an order today you're looking at mid/late 2023 delivery with their current assumed start date for second shift. Like you say, a good problem to have. If anyone is interested but not placed a deposit, you might want to act sooner rather than later, ahead of press reviews.

Spare parts are already being provisioned. They know they can't undermine a great car by continuing to have patchy spares availability. But we'll need to see the hard evidence of that!
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Yeah, the reassurance that spare parts were plentiful was a real boon.
Yes, there is some current disharmony on comms but if you did think of this as a whole new business venture with overwhelming demand you can see the size of the problem that Lotus, on reflection, are holding together really well.

Still, it is all about the final product and how they support us afterwards so let's not celebrate our brilliance at ordering a Lotus just yet. It looks VERY good but we still need to get in these cars in the real world and give them a proper seeing to.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
No, we never did bring up HP. This may well be clarified in next week's news or in March.
We were concentrating on quality and the V6 specifically.

Until I see the i4 released I am no longer speculating on it, and it could change anyway.
 
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