The Lotus Cars Community banner
1 - 20 of 73 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,137 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
This is scary for the automobile industry. Last week, the biggest auto dealer in Thousand Oaks Auto Mall (COURTESY CHEVROLET) (35 years) folded the doors forever. Every car in the lot are gone! Kaput! Yesterday the CHRYLSER dealer did the same. Mazda/Subaru dealer disappeared last December (fortunately in this case, other dealers picked up the brands). When will FORD disappear? What about LOTUS dealer (SilverStar)? Is it just a matter of time? Lotus in Calabasas is gone.....

The economy here in Ventura California is hitting hard. Major commercial chains are disappearing rapidly. Circuit City, Mervyn's, Linens 'n Things, Applebees....just to name a few.

No one is buying cars. No one is buying period. Terry and I went out for brunch and dinner for Valentine's Day and the restaurants that usually PACKED that day were GHOST TOWNS!:eek:

Friends are losing their jobs left and right. State workers were furloughed and my college classes were cut in half, even though there were plenty of students to take it. Education in California has been devasted. I'm so lucky to still have my job. For now.

I've never seen so many Lotus Elises/Exiges for sale on this forum! Many are reaching the magic price of $25K:eek:. If I had enough money, I'd buy all of them!

HELP US, OBI-WAN! YOU'RE OUR ONLY HOPE!:bow:

--Hal
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
29,081 Posts
This ties in with the economic predictions thread. It depends a lot on what you see happening. Me, I expect things are going to get a lot worse this year.

What we see is people are not spending where they don't have to. McDonalds and Walmart are doing well. Exotic cars are struggling in a very bad way.

I think it will be a very tough time to be a dealership in exotic cars. Aftermarket suppliers will struggle also... you don't have to put a supercharger on your car for example. Repair and maintenance shops should do better as people will keep their older car longer.

It comes down to looking at things for sale and seeing if people really need that. If they don't... I expect that market to struggle. And of course where the economy is heading. All the signs seem to me to be pointing to a bad 2009. Maybe even catastrophically bad.

And I do worry a little about Lotus here in the US and hope they don't struggle too much. I know some dealerships are struggling and some may not last.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
580 Posts
Cali is up a creek due to their budget nonsense, more than anything else. It's a very hostile place to run a business, so unsurprisingly, many are looking for greener pastures.

I doubt Lotus will get hammered to a significant degree-- they're not terribly expensive niche cars, and I doubt there will be an overall shortage of enthusiasts who want them, at least so far as the Elise and Exige go.

The Evora might feel it more.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
434 Posts
Everyone must do their part to spread the word that our cars are GREAT for MPG! :D

When I tell people my average MPG their mouths usually drop to the floor. I think it is sometimes more stunning than the looks and rarity alone.

Screw a smart car...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
791 Posts
I'm afraid things will get worse before they get better, but hopefully by the end of the year, we'll start seeing a turnaround.

Yes, agreed, I believe the Dollar Store is also doing very well. Sad state of affairs, I feel bad to those really struggling, we're so blessed.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
29,081 Posts
It's hard to get loans for cars.
And more importantly, the whole dealer thing is run on credit. You floorplan the cars, in which a bank or agency loans you money based on your inventory.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,566 Posts
in the 20's & 30's, rock bottom took a while to reach.

I sincerely hope that we have indeed reached rock bottom and that it does turn around within the next year. I don't see that happening while the landslide in confidence and frivolous government and large corporate spending continue plunging the country into the toilet bowl.

I especially hope it turns around for all the people hurting worldwide.

once gas prices rise again to $5.00/gallon, things will become even more dire.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,610 Posts
I guess I'm in a minority here but I think Lotus will do fine. Lotus' isn't Ford or GM who needs to sell X,XXX,XXX number of cars a year. How many Espirts a year was Lotus selling before the Elise came out? From what I heard, the Evora isn't going to be produced in many numbers either and the Evora would be coming State-side until later this year or next. Once things pick up, then Lotus will expand again.

I do think some Lotus dealers will close shop but that's because their other brands are faltering. So, even if they sold all their Lotus' they'd probably still close.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
320 Posts
I hope to God that Lotus weathers this economic storm. Given the superb price/performance offered by their cars and the outstanding fuel economy I hope anyone who has the good fortune of even thinking about getting an exotic in this environment will look harder at Lotus.

We may see the company cut back on their marketing and R&D, perhaps delay launching new products (Evora, Esprit, etc.) and other moves to reduce their expenses. A lot will depend on the support of their parent company.

Let us pray.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
331 Posts
Lotus should be allright since they are a relatively small company with 140+ emgineering contracts and don't rely solely on car sales for business and income. Also, unlike the giant automakers, Lotus is svelte enough to respond faster to sudden changes in the auto industry and go from concept to finished product in half the time than the big giants.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
29,081 Posts
Lotus should be allright since they are a relatively small company with 140+ emgineering contracts and don't rely solely on car sales for business and income. Also, unlike the giant automakers, Lotus is svelte enough to respond faster to sudden changes in the auto industry and go from concept to finished product in half the time than the big giants.

Except that this does not apply to LCU. They do rely only on car sales to stay in business and they have always run pretty lean. Not to suggest I think they are in trouble... I do not. But Lotus Cars can always cut back to stay afloat and as you say, they have engineering contracts. Lean times may mean other companies may outsource more engineering. Maybe.

But LCU sells to dealers only. And dealers need customers. As dealers get more hungry, they also have to think about what is taking up floor space and what the margins are. I had a conversation with one dealer and he said he is tired of allocating floor space to a car that will make him $3K when it sells, and it may sit for months, when he could instead put a Bentley in that spot and make a ton more money on it. He said selling Lotus sucked for many years, then was good when the Elise first arrive, then moved back into suck column. He had good hopes for it to be worth hanging on for when the Evora arrived. Just one dealer's opinion.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
331 Posts
We had our monthly Lotus club meeting at the local Lotus dealer Saturday and the sales manager, Tim Earl, who returned recently from a visit to the factory, told us that Lotus would like to release the Esprit sometime in 2010.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
431 Posts
The factory relies on Lotus USA to submit orders so that they may stay busy however, in the US, dealers are not submitting orders like the factory would like. For this, Lotus would have to make provisions that could mean cutting people at the factory.

Although the US is under a recession, not all states are impacted equally. For instance, CA, OR and NV are probably the worst effected by this recession due to the bubble finally bursting the housing market which has caused MANY homes to go in foreclosure and the sudden halt of contractors to do ANY construction...have you gone to Vegas lately?

As of yet, any US Lotus dealer who was terminated or abandoned the franchise was a direct result of their incompetance and the economy had absolutely nothing to do with it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
331 Posts
It seems that it would be difficult for a dealer without a major, top-selling brand to rely on selling a low-volume car like Lotus. Of course, even the major brands are taking a hit right now. Jobb losses notwithstanding, the credit crunch should not affect Lotus sales significantly, at least not here in Houston, where 98 percent of Loti are sold for cash.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,504 Posts
I have talked to a half dozen dealership managers. Some have been friends for years. They are saying the same thing. If the economy does not turn around in the next six months they will be gone forever. One of my closest friends owns a VW dealership in southern California. We don't speak much, he is too busy working 12-14 hour days - holding on by his fingernails.

It is the worst they have ever seen in the last three decades. One threw a party with balloons and cake to celebrate selling ONE car. It is my opinion that most will be gone forever and that is very sad.

It would be a shame to see Lotus fail because it is all about what a car should be vs the land yachts being sold by Detroit.

People shouldn't be too concerned with the survival of a corporation though. Fractional central banking and corporate greed got us here. Worry about yourself first.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
431 Posts
Except that this does not apply to LCU. They do rely only on car sales to stay in business and they have always run pretty lean. Not to suggest I think they are in trouble... I do not. But Lotus Cars can always cut back to stay afloat and as you say, they have engineering contracts. Lean times may mean other companies may outsource more engineering. Maybe.

But LCU sells to dealers only. And dealers need customers. As dealers get more hungry, they also have to think about what is taking up floor space and what the margins are. I had a conversation with one dealer and he said he is tired of allocating floor space to a car that will make him $3K when it sells, and it may sit for months, when he could instead put a Bentley in that spot and make a ton more money on it. He said selling Lotus sucked for many years, then was good when the Elise first arrive, then moved back into suck column. He had good hopes for it to be worth hanging on for when the Evora arrived. Just one dealer's opinion.

Correct as always Randy however; I'll bet you that dealer would rather take a $3000 profit now on a Lotus that's been sitting in his inventory than deal with the headache of losing tens of thousands of dollars on his Bentley's that's been sitting on his lot for much longer. I guess Bentley too must be in the suck column ;)
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
29,081 Posts
LOL

Yeah. I think the simple math is the more expensive car in this economy, the less it will sell. The only variable to add to that is that cars considered toys add in a little more difficulty as owning them would be a luxury. If all goes to hell, a truck or SUV would be preferred over a track car for the street.
 
1 - 20 of 73 Posts
Top