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Discussion Starter #1
Here's a question.

Lotus is a small company that builds small allotments of cars. In 2006 they're planning on redesigning the Elise, no?

How long does a company keep parts, clams, etc in stock and or manufacturing parts/clams for our first year S2 Elise? Lets say 10 years from now I run into a tree and need a new clam. Will I be able to get one? What about 15 years from now? 20?

Its not like other large production cars where there were so many you can find parts even many many years later in junkyards.

Is there a "moss motors" of Lotus parts where you can get vintage quality body parts years later?

Im just curious.

Thanks
J
 

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There should be parts available for older Elises for many years to come, just don't expect bargains. With a limited market like Lotus parts, supply and demand really comes into play.

You'll find several dedicated parts suppliers out there who will undoubtedly collect the parts you're intersted in. I would guess that with the larger number of Elises on the road, a few more parts suppliers will pop up (if they stay in business or not is another matter). The best advice I can offer is to continue doing what you're doing: network.

Lotus owners have always been a very pleasant group of people, willing to give you the benefit of their experience (such as finding parts). If you have not joined Lotus Ltd, do so - it's well worth it. Owning an old Elise shouldn't be too different than other old Lotus cars.

Hope this helps. :)
 

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Jenn,
It's a requirement for Lotus to import into US they have to guarantee after sales support for ten years after the car comes out. ie even if they stopped importing into the US, they'd have to have a parts presence.

FYI some years ago Dave Bean Eng. (I think they were the ones) bought the rights from LCU to distribute parts for "classic lotus", until that time (mid 90s) LCU was able to supply parts for just about all the Lotus ever built.

Chris
 

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Chris is right on...

Lotus still supplies chassis and body parts for Elans and Europas that were built in the 60's & 70's. I don't know of too many other car company that supports their products like that!

The aftermarket is also quite robust. Seven parts are available from Caterham. I have a Lotus 41 F/B car that I can get "original" parts for from Denty Racing.

Sure there's certain parts that have become "un-obtainium", but those parts are the ones that were sourced by Lotus from other manufacturers or were "non-essential" parts - like the hub caps for early Elans w/ bolt-on wheels.

It's not an issue for at least 15-20 years down the road.

Kiyoshi
 

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zvezdah1 said:
It's a requirement for Lotus to import into US they have to guarantee after sales support for ten years after the car comes out.
I have often heard this stated as fact, but I've been told by reliable sources (and from my own experiences) that it is a myth. There is no requirement or law that requires a manufacturer to provide parts for any given period of time. I've even had parts for cars made by "the big three" that I couldn't get after five years...

However, as stated by others in this thread, there should be no problem getting parts for the Elise for a long time to come. My experience with my '72 Elan is that almost all parts (including body and frame) are available. Most normal parts are readily available. A few are hard to find and expensive when you do. A few more are unobtainum (like the rear taillight lens), but even those I've managed to find cheap on Ebay...

I'm definitely not worried about parts availablility...

Tim Mullen
 

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btw, kudos on your thread title. :)
 

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Lotus sometimes is a funny company, especially with spare parts and service.....
Some guys over here crashed there Elises (S1 and S2) and they are still waiting for a new chassis from Hethel, UK.
Now they are even getting mad about you guys cause Lotus says "no time for seperate chassis.... we need them all for the states !"
It's a bit hard when you're waiting since may 2003 for such a part.
It's the same with the carbon crashbox in the front, three months is normal waiting time....
A rumor about the clamshells is that there will no longer be any S1-clams available because the forms for laminating (?) the clams are worn out....there only have been six of them to build all the s1 Elises since 1996.....
Matthias
 

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Mister111 said:
Lotus sometimes is a funny company, especially with spare parts and service.....
Some guys over here crashed there Elises (S1 and S2) and they are still waiting for a new chassis from Hethel, UK.
Now they are even getting mad about you guys cause Lotus says "no time for seperate chassis.... we need them all for the states !"
It's a bit hard when you're waiting since may 2003 for such a part.
It's the same with the carbon crashbox in the front, three months is normal waiting time....
A rumor about the clamshells is that there will no longer be any S1-clams available because the forms for laminating (?) the clams are worn out....there only have been six of them to build all the s1 Elises since 1996.....
Matthias
You can get S1 clams from http://www.lotusecosse.com/acatalog/Bodywork.html

They also do carbon composite ones, but sadly I don't think these are of the resin impregnated "cook and cure" variety.

Craigy
 

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TimMullen said:
I have often heard this stated as fact, but I've been told by reliable sources (and from my own experiences) that it is a myth. There is no requirement or law that requires a manufacturer to provide parts for any given period of time. I've even had parts for cars made by "the big three" that I couldn't get after five years...

However, as stated by others in this thread, there should be no problem getting parts for the Elise for a long time to come. My experience with my '72 Elan is that almost all parts (including body and frame) are available. Most normal parts are readily available. A few are hard to find and expensive when you do. A few more are unobtainum (like the rear taillight lens), but even those I've managed to find cheap on Ebay...

I'm definitely not worried about parts availablility...

Tim Mullen
IIRC although there may be no legal requirement to stock parts for the USA, Lotus must do parts in Germany for 10 years in order to obtain type approval to sell the car there.

If the USA elise uses the same parts, they will not become "unobtanium". Having said that, I do think that you might have to replacements of a different type if Lotus require it - an example of this being the Lanxide MMC brake discs on the early Elise S1's which are now not obtainable through Lotus, requiring a new braking system if you need for example, one new MMC disc.

Craigy
 

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Craigy said:
IIRC although there may be no legal requirement to stock parts for the USA, Lotus must do parts in Germany for 10 years in order to obtain type approval to sell the car there.

Wrong. We had several discussions on that - Lotus as a very small niche manufacturer is *not* obliged to stock parts for 10 years. Besides that, there is no "German type approval", all Elise come with a European Certificate of Conformity which is valid in all EU countries. The Elise would not get German type approval, there are *some* issues which would be against German law, but are acceptable through ECE. Example: ride height, height of number plate, indicator height ... ... ...

I personally DO think that we will run into parts problems some time. The MMC disaster was just the first glimpse of that.

Furthermore: the *main* issue with Lotus is not parts availability, it is LEAD TIME. I myself am waiting for a new Elise S1 chassis since September, a friend of mine has his Elise off-road since May 2003 - no chassis, neither a proposed date ! THIS is the main problem with Lotus, they are that un-organised that they simply are not able to fulfil part orders ! :rolleyes: Everything I chase them up via the phone they are very creative in thinking of just another excuse. Latest (last Friday): "we have all parts in now, but we do not have any time to assemble them". Bwahaha, thank you. I can only encourage every local / regional drivers group to build up their own stocks, look for OEM parts and never trust anybody at Lotus with statements re lead time.
 

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Stefan said:
Wrong. We had several discussions on that - Lotus as a very small niche manufacturer is *not* obliged to stock parts for 10 years. Besides that, there is no "German type approval", all Elise come with a European Certificate of Conformity which is valid in all EU countries. The Elise would not get German type approval, there are *some* issues which would be against German law, but are acceptable through ECE. Example: ride height, height of number plate, indicator height ... ... ...

I personally DO think that we will run into parts problems some time. The MMC disaster was just the first glimpse of that.

Furthermore: the *main* issue with Lotus is not parts availability, it is LEAD TIME. I myself am waiting for a new Elise S1 chassis since September, a friend of mine has his Elise off-road since May 2003 - no chassis, neither a proposed date ! THIS is the main problem with Lotus, they are that un-organised that they simply are not able to fulfil part orders ! :rolleyes: Everything I chase them up via the phone they are very creative in thinking of just another excuse. Latest (last Friday): "we have all parts in now, but we do not have any time to assemble them". Bwahaha, thank you. I can only encourage every local / regional drivers group to build up their own stocks, look for OEM parts and never trust anybody at Lotus with statements re lead time.
Stefan, I bow to your knowledge of german rules - to explain why I said what I did, I am referring to what I was told about the Esthi, which is that brandes-dschuedow have to maintain supply stocks for 10 years. I also confused TUV approval with type-approval (though a car which passes in the UK is not necessarily valid across the EU as the Sport160 proves).

WRT the MMC disc problem I concur though I heard that brembo got interested in supplying for a while in the late 90's and bailed out when they saw the yield the process made (about 25% of the disks as cast were viable for machining into parts - the rest scrap) - thus making the market much more expensive to be in, and not as profitable. Shame Lanxide couldn't be coaxed into continuing production as they are by far my favourite brakes (i have a set on my S1 right now).

Ps. hope the Lotus-lada is running well - I have the video on my computer. Definately a "q-car" as we call them in the UK.

Craigy
 

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Stefan said:
Wrong. We had several discussions on that - Lotus as a very small niche manufacturer is *not* obliged to stock parts for 10 years. Besides that, there is no "German type approval", all Elise come with a European Certificate of Conformity which is valid in all EU countries. The Elise would not get German type approval, there are *some* issues which would be against German law, but are acceptable through ECE. Example: ride height, height of number plate, indicator height ... ... ...

I personally DO think that we will run into parts problems some time. The MMC disaster was just the first glimpse of that.

Furthermore: the *main* issue with Lotus is not parts availability, it is LEAD TIME. I myself am waiting for a new Elise S1 chassis since September, a friend of mine has his Elise off-road since May 2003 - no chassis, neither a proposed date ! THIS is the main problem with Lotus, they are that un-organised that they simply are not able to fulfil part orders ! :rolleyes: Everything I chase them up via the phone they are very creative in thinking of just another excuse. Latest (last Friday): "we have all parts in now, but we do not have any time to assemble them". Bwahaha, thank you. I can only encourage every local / regional drivers group to build up their own stocks, look for OEM parts and never trust anybody at Lotus with statements re lead time.

Based off the statements by Lotus concerning the direction they want to go in the US, they will HAVE to address this issue, or they will not be able to take the company to the next level. In my opinion this is a core competency of doing business in the US automotive market for any car that is under $75,000. Parts must be available for years to come on a relatively quick basis or it's simply not going to work.
 

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I have owned a Esprit's since 1995, when it comes to parts and service you require lots of patience. A few times I had my car sitting in a dealership waiting for parts that took months to come. It is usually something small, something that dealers do not have in stock. I myself have called and personally know many parts departments across the country. I am assuming with the Toyota engine and transmission it will be more reliable than an Esprit. I suggest you start networking with other Lotus owners and develop a good network. Most problems can be solved very easily and there are many good sources of information out there, however any Lotus owner could tell you when it breaks down be prepared for anything. It seems the items most likely to go first are always the items that are never covered by warranty.
 

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Wow, parts are that much of problem?

Looks like use as a sole 'daily driver' is a fantasy, unless this is much improved...
 

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You can't really equate the parts situation of the esprit with the elise. Granted, it won't ever be like going to Honda and getting a part three days later(not with unusual components).

But the esprit enjoyed such a long production run many parts haven't been manufactured in years or in some cases or made on a special run basis. Another reason being that we're talking such small numbers. An example is the Citroen gearbox of the pre 90s esprits and the Renault gearbox for the post 90 cars, getting very difficult to find.

Will you be able to replace a chassis or front clam in a week? Don't know if that'll ever happen. Then again, need for a chassis or even a clam is probably reasonably uncommon occurrence. But mechanical parts, don't think it'll be too much a problem. And with the gear box and engine being yota, you can ALWAYS source parts there.

I'm thinking in addition to the Lotus parts and shop manuals, it'd be a good idea to buy a celica parts manual so you can get the yota parts numbers>

CHris
 
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