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Discussion Starter #1
I'm not tired enough tonight so I had these thoughts I wanted to share with all of you. After months of the discussions about wether the Elise is worth +/- 45K and wether the Noble is a better car or not and now the new C6 I came up with a few thoughts about the Elise to keep the discussion going some more:

First to get things out of the way: All cars have their strenghts and weaknesses, no vehicle on earth can be everything to everyone so lets not argue about that and all three vehicles mentioned above are awesome cars and there is no argument about that.

So here is my thinking on the Elise and its virtues, once again, It is a Go-kart for the street. It is light, nimble and sooo sexy! It is refined while at the same time being stripped to the bare minimums ( probably a contradiction but I hope it makes sense to somebody out there, people see a cool looking car and interior).

Light weight costs a lot of money! Could Toyota, Mazda, Nissan, GM, Ford, Etc build a light weight car? yes they could but they realize the major costs involved in producing such a car and the price it would have to be sold at to turn a profit and realize that these would be very low production models selling for high prices (when compared to their full weight brothers) and they choose not to get into it.
Think of the Ferrari Challenge Sttradale versus a normal F-360, same car, same engine, lighter weight stripped down and it costs a whole lot more, not less than the regular model. Look at a Porsche GT2 compared to a normal Porsche Carrera Turbo, just about same car minus several systems such as stability management etc and it costs a whole lot more. Yes I know the cars get some different systems etc but not as much as the difference in price paid for the lighter weight models. Look at any version of Porsche in the past such as the RS models and they all cost more than their full weight brothers.
As further proof of the cost of low weight look at how much money people spend to buy a car than mod it by removing every conceivable thing they can out of their cars to make them lighter. There is a cost to removing stuff such as carpets, interior, insulation, speakers, etc and adding Carbon Fiber hoods and lighter windshields, etc and they get a car that looks like it has been left in the worst part of town and they broke into it and stole the interior :D , now most nutcases in here see beauty in that and so do I because we understand the reason for doing it and we get our little Elise that already comes stripped and built with light weight panels all around and light weight chassis that you can never duplicate on a regular car and the interior looks great!. The Noble is the same in that respect, and it costs a lot of money as well and yes it is faster thanks to its more powerfull engine. The New C6 is also the same in the GM way of thinking, why is the Corvette made of Fiberglass instead of sheet metal like all other cars in the GM lineup? because its lighter!
Now here is where I may be mudding the waters again but here it goes. The Elise is also an exotic but at a cost that middle Americans can afford, I think this is something highly desirable, can't put a dollar value to it, its an intagible but it adds value to the car IMO. The brand has a Heritage, a history associated with motorsports and that also has an intangible value to it. People all over the world are willing to pay more for certain brands and models because of their association with their particular form of competition, think of Air Jordans sneakers and Tiger Woods Nike clubs, etc, etc. teh elise has some of the same.

So to sum up and get some more interesting discussion from some you fine Elise waiters, owners and lurkers: Yes the Elise costs a fair amount more than something like an RX-8 (1.5 times as much probably) and the performance isn't 1.5 times faster around a track but as I see it there is a reason for the extra cost that comes from Lotus' efforts to give us a car that is light weight, handles like its on rails, its exclusive, rare and has a heritage and prestige to go along with the package. Lotus realizes a vehicle like this will never be for the masses and they will never sell 100,000 copies of it in a year or probably even the entire production run of the vehicle for the whole world but they still do it and we are lucky enough to get one if we want to (and can stand the wait!). A more powerfull engine in a car is a relativelly easier goal to reach but lower weight and better handling are much harder and expensive objectives to aim at and the Elise has them both covered in spades!

All Comments are welcome!
 

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Disclaimer: different tracks reward different setups.

That out of the way, remember the law of diminishing returns. When you keep improving the performance of a car, the next step costs more and nets you less. Look at F1--they're spending millions looking for a tenth of a second.

Jim
 

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Fred...agree with your assessment plus>>>

there are many subtle refinements on the Elise rarely seen on cars in the sub $150K range... take a look one- on- one in the following areas of RX-8, Miata, Boxster, 350Z and so on>
-163 lb aircraft grade super rigid chassis..and a beautiful work it tis...no stamp metal mono etc here
-F1 type suspension...no stamped or cast pieces here...EVERYBODY that has looked at the Elise suspension is totally WOWed...
-design that stands it out of a crowd. I was visiting a car show on Sunday and I happened to arrive at the same time as a fellow with a brand new C5 vert...he was very proud of his car (as he should be) but no lookers...why? All were at the Yelo Elise (I felt badly for him...went over and chatted about Vettes since I have a C6 on order)
-amortization vs production #s also drive costs...speaking of the C6...GM will produce (when fully ramped up) more Vettes in 3 weeks than Lotus will build Elise's in one year... low numbers higher prices... and thus exclusivity :D
-The weight factor can not be overstated...those of us who now have the privilege of owning the car know this factor oh so well...When I was at the Mercedes AutoX on Saturday and was looking at the gathering of some very high hp vehicles... AMG models (like a 375 hp E55), Vettes, WRX, even Acuras (modded) the one thing that stood out and where the Elise WILL stand out (I did not drive that day since I am still in break in :( is many of cars can haul *ss in the straight but are such wallowers in the Ss and corners compared to the Elise. Simply laws of physics... sure big hp but when haulin 3500+ lbs or even 2700 + lbs you have to stop it or turn it and here mass and momentum will grab you...
-and yes there is something to be said to seeing a Lotus and knowing Chapman was the driving factor for the company and its vision...not a corporate committee

So...is the Elise worth it... absolutely YES...and in my opinion I give hats off to Lotus for not pricing it higher since they could still sell every one they produce. So to those who are waiting treated like Ellen and I did after waiting for over two years... great expectations to be realized.. you will smile too when you look at your wonderful Elise that is yours.
Michael
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Wow, great responses guys! That is what I was looking for. Its easy to just talk about the 0-60 times when a time around a certain track but we need to look at the whole package and in the Elise you get a lot for your money. Lets also hear from the nay sayers and the ones who feel the car is too expensive.
 

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In the states the masses also consider *mass* to be an indicator of quality and worth.
Lotus would not be able to sell the US street legal Elise to anyone but a hardcore Lotus freak (too few of these), if the car had not gained some weight.. AC,PW, ABS, etc.

Here, a 2000LB Elise is a phenomenon. In Europe It is called the "Fat Elise".

There are many cars in other countries that weigh less than the Fed Elise.
My se7en at 1280lbs invokes questions like "is it a real car?" due to lack of perceived mass.

Perversely enough, people will pay more for less (aforementioned Ferrari/porsche/M3 CSL)

For the US market weight also increases the profit margin... more useless toys, nannies and if you compare the Euro base model of a car to the US market base model, you'll notice a hefty weight increase due to options(on the Euro model) being standard on the US model.

Then they turn around and charge even more for a stripped model and we pay.

I personally don't think the Elise is worth $45K if you view it as just another car on the dealer forecourt, but considering its pedigree and the amount of money invested to federalise the car , I think the MSRP was fair enough. (they SHOULD be making a profit, even with the dopey Dollar)
This car was designed and built for peanuts, if say GM were to build it (they can't of course). But Lotus scrabbled and scraped to finance the project. (they did make a healthy profit on the s1)
m
 

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i drove a demo yesterday and put a deposit down. i'll have more on that elsewhere, but in short i think that elise is a once-in-a-life-time-opportunity kind of car.

i have been meaning to address thoughts of the nature "this car is great because"
its exclusive, rare and has a heritage and prestige to go along with the package
. they have been used over and over as trump cards to negate other (truly) great value cars like the s2000, evo, corvette and others and in even more ridiculous claims like justification for high maintenance charges. i didn't want to distract otherise worthy threads by going into this, but this seems like the perfect thread. putting my deposit down makes the timing right too.

so: none of those attributes by themselves makes the car any better whatsoever. they only serve to satisfy vanity.

moreover, they even make the car worse. "rarity" makes it more difficult to get access to parts and knowledge. "exclusivity" means the same thing, but it alludes to the high price. high price, solely on its own merits, is of course undesirable by anyone except those out to profit on sales.

"heritage" brings up the images of racing history, a company with a long and famous tradition and so on. those attributes on their own, again, do not make the car better at all - it is true that the elise could contain in it the developments that could only come as a result of such heritage, but then those exact developments should be praised and valued on their own, its aluminum structure for example, not the useless heritage. that may be a difficult distinction for some so let me put it this way: if let's say honda made physically the exact same car, and badged it honda, there would be people on this discussion board who would not buy it just because it is a honda and not a lotus, i know because there have been posts almost saying it in those words, and such behaviour is an expression of vanity and stupidity. "prestige" again is partly just another synonym of the already mentioned concepts, except that it adds the conotation of being better than everybody else - more vanity. and there were other related concepts mentioned by others all over this board. so whenever heritage and the like are brought up as part of the value of the elise i am disgusted. sure, mention it as an explanation of where its dynamic greatness comes from, but at least don't remind me of all that vanity by praising it as a good thing on its own.

i do have to qualify this somewhat by saying that if vanity makes one happy and pursuing it does not hurt anyone, than all those into it should by all means go after it. with two exceptions: a) pursuit of vanity in this case does hurt others because it drives the prices up b) do not ever say how such "vanity-things" make any car any better.

please don't extract anything personal or emotional from here - because it is not there - i am just trying to make my point clear.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
masheen, thanks for the reply. As I said in my post I knew these last points about rarity, heritage and so on would probably muddy the waters but I put them there because if you put nothing on a post for people to disagree about than it becomes a monologue and not a dialogue as I intended. I was also very clear that these are intangibles and I couldn't put a value to them, I just felt it adds something to the car and felt like mentioning them but the main argument is that it costs real money to develop a real light weight car but many people simply do not aprreciate that aspect of it, thy would rather have 5" carpet and think couches for seats. Anyway thanks and I'm definetelly not getting emotional, just trying to provoke some thought and responses.
 

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Ntfl, I agree wholeheartedly with you. I think you've done a nice job of summing up what this car is about, v.v. the weight vs. value issue and why in a sense the question that some people are raising - is the car "worth the money" is almost irrelevant. To my mind, if it's worth it to the buyer, it's worth it, if it's not, than it's not. It's a completely subjective issue, IMO.
 

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masheen...you have your opinion and I follow most>>>

but your statements like
'i know because there have been posts almost saying it in those words, and such behaviour is an expression of vanity and stupidity. "prestige" again is partly just another synonym of the already mentioned concepts, except that it adds the conotation of being better than everybody else - more vanity. and there were other related concepts mentioned by others all over this board. so whenever heritage and the like are brought up as part of the value of the elise i am disgusted." I find fascinating for someone who just put a deposit on an Elise. Would you find your social ethic better served if we all wore plain grey clothing, lived in the same size/style house and all drove Yugos? Nothing emotional...just trying to make a my point clear.
 

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I think basically anyone can buy the car for whatever reason they choose to use to justify it.

I don't feel the need to justify it, I work, I'll pay for it. I like the whole package of the car, heritage/history, design, performance.

Masheen you're right lots of cars have been discussed and discounted here, in my view because even tho some of the cars you mention are great, they're not as light and nimble as the elise, what other car presently available in the US can approach the whole package of lightness, performance, innovative design for this price??

You seem to feel the car is pretty special yourself hence the deposit you placed.

Chris:)
 

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NtflBlueLiz said:
masheen, thanks for the reply. As I said in my post I knew these last points about rarity, heritage and so on would probably muddy the waters but I put them there because if you put nothing on a post for people to disagree about than it becomes a monologue and not a dialogue as I intended. I was also very clear that these are intangibles and I couldn't put a value to them, I just felt it adds something to the car and felt like mentioning them but the main argument is that it costs real money to develop a real light weight car but many people simply do not aprreciate that aspect of it, thy would rather have 5" carpet and think couches for seats. Anyway thanks and I'm definetelly not getting emotional, just trying to provoke some thought and responses.
ok.

my note about "emotional" was just a preventive measure intended to discourage people from thinking that i got offended/upset/unfriendly/.../, or am trying to offend/upset/.../ someone. because that is what often enough happens with my posts.
 

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Re: masheen...you have your opinion and I follow most>>>

YELOTUS said:
I find fascinating for someone who just put a deposit on an Elise.
i appreciate it for other reasons. and hate its price. and some attitudes toward its price.

YELOTUS said:
Would you find your social ethic better served if we all wore plain grey clothing, lived in the same size/style house and all drove Yugos? Nothing emotional...just trying to make a my point clear.
no social ethic - just reasoning.

exclusivity, rarity, heritage, and prestige are way beyond having enough options to express yourself.

i am all for having enough options to express yourself.
 

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mikester said:
is the car "worth the money" is almost irrelevant. To my mind, if it's worth it to the buyer, it's worth it, if it's not, than it's not. It's a completely subjective issue, IMO.
the fact that people keeping bringing up the topic means that, to them at least, it is not irrelevant. or even if it is irrelevant in some sense, some observed popularity of the topic means that it is at least entertaining to some.

i agree that "if it's worth it to the buyer, it's worth it, if it's not, than it's not" is most important.

however, than doesn't justify calling the discussion "irrelevant" and "subjective".

it is relevant because when lotus sets the price, or when people judge the price, they do those types of comparitive analysis. everybody can come up with a different individual conclusion and justification, which, like you said, is the most important part, because everybody starts with different desires/values/.../ but everybody is looking at the same objective world and those observations should be mostly common and open for discussion when they do not appear to be common or when they appear to be irrational.

and it's fun to consider all this. if you don't think it is, then don't get into it.
 

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masheen said:
i drove a demo yesterday and put a deposit down. i'll have more on that elsewhere, but in short i think that elise is a once-in-a-life-time-opportunity kind of car.

i have been meaning to address thoughts of the nature "this car is great because" . they have been used over and over as trump cards to negate other (truly) great value cars like the s2000, evo, corvette and others and in even more ridiculous claims like justification for high

do i want an S2000? do i want a vette? do i want an evo?


no


do i want a Lotus?

emphatically yes, and i have wanted one for decades. there has not been a vette i wanted for decades (read that early 60s).

i considered the honda. not interested after driving it

evo? not a chance


heritage? well the vette has heritage. i just don't like where they have gone from the late 60s on. the honda and evo are in the heritage-building years. think they'll get there? maybe but i don't care. if they do something that interests me i would consider either. but they've not.

a se7en would be nice. an elan i'd consider. but the elise, from first light of day has been a car i want. maybe next year it will happen.

all the handwaving justificatins, all the nay saying, none of it matters. price does matter. over-porking the poor thing beyond what is already done would matter. one might deter me from purchase, but not the other.
 

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zvezdah1 said:
I think basically anyone can buy the car for whatever reason they choose to use to justify it.

I don't feel the need to justify it, I work, I'll pay for it.
of course.

but some pople need some help with their reasoning sometimes.

zvezdah1 said:

in my view because even tho some of the cars you mention are great, they're not as light and nimble as the elise, what other car presently available in the US can approach the whole package of lightness, performance, innovative design for this price??

none, i agree.

but i never question that. i questioned the snobishness of heritage/prestige/.../. i just want people to realize that it doesn't make the car any better, it just satisfies people's need to feel above others.
 

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Interesting thread.

so: none of those attributes by themselves makes the car any better whatsoever. they only serve to satisfy vanity.

moreover, they even make the car worse. "rarity" makes it more difficult to get access to parts and knowledge. "exclusivity" means the same thing, but it alludes to the high price. high price, solely on its own merits, is of course undesirable by anyone except those out to profit on sales.
It's been discussed before. Some people enjoy a car that is more widespread and so has a larger community. Some other do not. I count myself among those that do not. Is that vanity?

I guess it partly is. Is that bad? I don't think so. Is it vanity to want a car that looks awesome? Certainly. Is it vanity to select a pleasing color? Yes. Is it vanity to dress in fashion? My point is that I don't see vanity in this aspect as being that negative. I don't want to see the same car on every block. And being frank, a lot of that is indeed tied up in personal vanity.

I don't share the opinion that exclusive and high price are good attributes. If this car was a $20,000 Toyota (but otherwise the same), I would still own it (and in fact enjoy it more frankly since it would be cheaper). In fact, my last car was exactly that. But it is what it is. And do I enjoy that I have a car that is not easily obtained? Yes. I enjoy it. :)

Heritage. It's nice. Not worth $50k for just heritage and if Lotus was only resting on their laurels... that means little to me. I will admit that I like the fact that the car is a Lotus and not a Kia.

I tend to never slam other cars because I just don't feel that I need to, in order to make myself feel superior. Different horse for different courses. Those other cars are indeed very good cars and worthy of consideration.

Back on topic as someone that designs crap for a living... removing weight is indeed expensive and the farther you go, it becomes exponential. Same with reducing size.

Small, Light, Cheap. Pick two.
 

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Nice line, Randy. Love that one. Being lighter makes the car worth it.

The car performs at near supercar ability and is thought to be a supercar by most everybody. The inherent value in these facts is tremendous. For me, the best part of owning the Elise is driving it; what a joy. A close 2nd is that it's a rare, beautiful attention getter. I saw a new Vette yesterday (exposed headlights), nice, but I didn't look back over my shoulder at it. I guess that's my point.
 

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Great post nightfall,

I can't tell you just how much $ i spent lightening my race car. The whole front end is now fiberglass. The rear deck, wing and bumper are also fiberglass. The dash is all carbon fiber as is the front and rear wing splitters. The rear windows are all lexan, the wheels are ultra light magnezium race wheels. I have not added up my bills and I don't think I want to. The car was origionally around 2,800lbs. I managed to get it down to 2,200lbs.

The Elise is one of if not the lightest cars now sold in the USA. You get it all for a little over 40K plus options. Not bad at all. That is what really makes the Elise such a special car.

Best Wishes,
Mitch
 

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Randy Chase said:
Small, Light, Cheap. Pick two.
This is very true in bicycling except we go by price, weight and durablity; pick two. I hope Lotus has picked the last two ;)

Although a whole different world, when I went from a touring bicycle to a Titanium racing bicycle, about 10 lb., it was amazing. The same is true in the twisties between a more powerful car and an Elise that weighs 1,000 lb. less. 0-60 numbers just can't convey this.

IMO although high HP and torque cars are a hoot, where in the US, except race tracks and out west in states like Nevada can one ever hope to see the 180 mph top speed of say the Vette? If I lived in Germany where I could drive that fast OK, but I'd rather pay for a feature, i.e., handling that I can use every day.

Also its nice to get over 30 mpg and have lower brake pad, tire and rotor expenses from track days.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Wow, some good back and forth, thanks.
I posted this because lately we got into a lot of discussions about speeds and numbers and I wanted to get into a different discussion for a change. I am almost sorry I inserted the heritage part as a "complementing" part of the Elise equation but so be it. During all of these discussions I kept thinking " doesn't anybody realize that besides the great handling there is a lot more in the Elise?". I kept remembering my days in the 911 boards and people spending thousands and thousands for mods to lighten the car and I also kept remembering going to the track and getting beat on my 911 by an Acura Integra and going to talk to the guy and him showing me how he had stripped the car and had a roll cage and suspension and etc. and thinking that in the Elise we already get the light weight from the factory as well as everything else and wanted to get some discussion from that point of view.

Changing subjects a little, a couple of nights a go on The Learning Channel they had 1 hour show on Lamborghini and the Running of the Bulls. Did anyone catch that? I thought it was pretty cool!
 
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