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Like many others, I have become very frustrated with the buying experience associated with this Elise. I've already decided to never order another car from Lotus ever again. Don't get me wrong, if there's one I like and it's sitting on a showroom floor, I would consider buying it. I just don't want to deal with this ordering process again. Often, especially lately, I've considered dropping out and buying a different car, but I keep telling myself that my car is almost here - I've waiting this long, what's a few more weeks, right?

That's a strong argument, but it got me thinking...dealing with Lotus has been a mess up until now...what's it going to be like once I have my Elise? My dealer has been excellent to work with, so I'm not worried about the everyday issues like oil changes and scheduled maintenance. What worries me is, what if I need some part that the dealer doesn't have in stock? Am I going to have to go through this whole mess all over again? No one really knowing where the part is, if it's shipped, or whether it's arrived at port, etc? My fear is that the Elise buying experience will extend to the Elise ownership experience as well...in which case, I find myself questioning whether that's something I want to subject myself to.

Does anyone have direct experience dealing with Lotus in a post-sales manner? Is communication good? Are parts obtainable and easy to order?
 

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I know some will burn you at the digital stake for such heretical talk, but I have to confess to having similar thoughts.

This whole "nobody knows where the cars are" and the hundred reasons why it's perfectly normal not to know where the cars are -- it does make me wonder why I would want a semi-exotic hand-built British car from a factory with miniscule US presence and an information network that is currently unsatisfactory.

I'm really betting that once I get behind the wheel, it's all worth it, and that it won't spend all its time in the shop waiting for parts that may arrive in the next eight to twelve months. How happy are the Esprit owners with the parts and service available?
 

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No interaction with lotus yet. The dealer has been great.

Trust me-once in, you'll slap yourself for even considering dropping off the list. It's worth everything we've gone through and then a lot more...
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I'm sure driving the car will be great, but what I worry about is periods where I'm unable to drive it due to awaiting some replacement part. If/when that happens, I'll be anxious to get back on the road, and will want to know, with detail, where the part is and when it's due to arrive. If the flow of information then is similar to it is now, I see myself become frustrated and stressed. My wife thinks all this will end once I get my car...will it?
 

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You are not buying a Honda. Lotus is a small company, and sometimes things take a while. LCU is trying to come up to speed, and this has been an ordeal for them as well as us. There are times that if you need some special part, it just may take a while for it to come in.

That said, Lotus is a small company. How many of you have met the designer of you current car? The people responsible for much of the engineering and design of the Elise have visited with the Lotus community at various LOGS. I've called up LCU at various times and been put through to the right people, not pawned off to a receptionist or marketing guy.

The Lotus community is rather tight knit, and that includes the factory. But if you are expecting Honda, Chevy, or Ford parts supplies, you may be in for a surprise. I've always been able to get what I've needed for my Elan, but sometimes I've had to wait for a while. A Lotus may not be a good car if you need total reliability and total availability - but people have done it; I've driven my Elan from one coast to the other and back with no problems. I expect that my Elise will be very reliable. But I do have my Miata as a backup...
 

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I'm almost to the point where I dont even like logging into the board anymore. Nothing against the board of course, its just that I've had my hopes up so many times and let back down again that Im getting kind of depressed over the whole situation. lol ;)
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Tim,

You say that sometimes things take a while. I don't really mind that, I guess I'm more interested in whether Lotus is able to provide you with a good idea of how long something will take, and if they keep you informed of the status of a part order?

I don't need/expect total reliability in the car - I just want to learn more about what I'm going to go through to get it fixed if the dealer doesn't have the part(s).

Your point about LCU is a good one, and historically seems to be the case. It appears to be changing though - one person on this board recently tried to learn the status of his car via LCU, and was told he had to work with his dealer. The voicemail box for the customer service line was full (right, tech_ko?) when only a handful of cars had yet been delivered.

Please, someone tell me that the ownership experience will be different than the buying experience!
 

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Having owned several Lotus over the years I've always had good experiences with them, for some years when Lotus didn't have a viable dealership in Atlanta they actually did ALL the service on my and other people in the areas cars. First rate from top to bottom. Also, Lotus has required dealers to buy a component package (including body parts)so hopefully won't be a long wait for parts. Ntfllblu found out his dealer already had the front clam in stock if indeed they need to replace his.

I think Lotus required dealers to get the component sets to make the down time for the car much shorter.

Chris
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thanks, Chris! Do you know if LCU has a complete inventory of spare parts to support the dealer network? Or, if a dealer needs to order more parts, are those parts usually shipped from England?
 

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TimMullen said:
But if you are expecting Honda, Chevy, or Ford parts supplies, you may be in for a surprise.
One positive note: the engine and transmission are unmodified from Toyota off of a (relatively) mass-produced model. Parts should be no problem for either of these...

Jim
 

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jtanner said:
One positive note: the engine and transmission are unmodified from Toyota off of a (relatively) mass-produced model. Parts should be no problem for either of these...

Jim
True, but I'm guessing a Lotus servicing dealer will want to order the parts from Lotus, especially for warranty work. They're not going to do the legwork to find a cross from Toyota and take the risk.

So even though it's a Japanese part we could get from any Toyota dealer, it will probably come from UK. I would expect this to cause longer repair downtime.

The good part about these exotic service bays is that they're probably use to neurotic owners wanting their cars Right Now Dammit. They've seen the effects of too much espresso.
 

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Rothrock already has stockpiled body parts, including two clamshells. Perhaps the skt isn't falling. Let's not all assume it's a huge issue yet. And the reliability will probably be better than any other Lotus ever released, IMHO.
 

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I would agree with Tim's assessment of the ownership experience. Expect the Lotus to be less than reliable, then whatever happens will be a pleasant surprise. Be ready for parts delays and lack of knowledge regarding repairs, even at your local authorized dealer. In short -- you're probably going to become an expert on how your car (and Lotus as a company) works.

Frankly, I would not use Chris's experience as typical. No offense, but there are many of us that live in areas other than right around LCU. Unfortunately, while LCU has techs with lots of experience and enthusiasm, many exotic dealers consider Lotus to be a low-volume/low income brand. The resulting service at a multi-line exotic dealer can leave much to be desired. There are, of course, exceptions to this statement.

In my experience, I have had several Lotus owners go so far as to advise me NOT to take my Lotus to the Lotus dealer for service! Parts can be difficult to get -- note the wait in Europe for clams, etc while Lotus diverts parts to handle US production.

Unfortunately, this has been and probably will continue to be part of owning a low-volume hand-built car. Savor the singular experience...it's all part of the fun. :)
 

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Based on Tech_KO's interaction with his dealer and the LCU tech people I think we'll be OK.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
I'm still not convinced that things will be much differnent, but then, one fact remains - all the Lotus owners who tell these stories of parts delays (not just on this board, I've seen plenty on some email lists too) seem very, very happy with their cars! I think we should call this "Lotus Magic"...there's gotta be something about these cars that just puts a smile on your face and helps you overlook anything negative. Looking at it from that perspective, I suppose I'd be a fool to not buy this car! Besides, I can always sell it later, it's not like I'm making a lifelong committment here...
 

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MattG said:
one fact remains - all the Lotus owners who tell these stories of parts delays (not just on this board, I've seen plenty on some email lists too) seem very, very happy with their cars!
You noticed...:bow:

A Lotus is a unique experience. A great one, but different. And after owning my Elan for the last 30 years, I was early on the list to buy the Elise - sight unseen, without even knowing the specs.

Lotus used to have an advertising slogan, that I still like and think is appropriate:
"For The Few Who Know The Difference...".
 

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Matt et al,
Some huge differences in parts acquisitions for the Esprit and the elise, same goes with tech experience, Goose is right in saying that a lot of Lotus dealers might service a couple esprits a year and hard to keep top level proficiency at that rate.

Lotus actually ran out of some components on the last Esprits and had to contract out to manufacturre a special run because the original maker was long since gone.

That situation is totally different from the Elise, not only will the average Lotus service department see a comparative high number of Elises each year and maintain proficiency that way, but I also suspect parts availability in most cases will be quite good from LCU. At one time many years ago, when the UK did a run of S2 M100 Elans, they actually got some parts from LCU. LCU was also wise in requiring dealers to carry a selection of parts as well.

Actually until Dave Bean bought the rights to older Lotus (pre-esprit) you could still get a lot of parts for them from LCU.

Chris
 

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Ground Loop said:
True, but I'm guessing a Lotus servicing dealer will want to order the parts from Lotus, especially for warranty work. They're not going to do the legwork to find a cross from Toyota and take the risk.

So even though it's a Japanese part we could get from any Toyota dealer, it will probably come from UK. I would expect this to cause longer repair downtime.
Good point. The interesting part will be relative costs, i.e. will a new block from Lotus cost significantly more than a new block from Toyota, and will there be any difference in quality/manufacturing tolerances?

Also, it provides options to shadetree mechanics after the warranty has expired.

Jim
 

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Ground Loop said:
True, but I'm guessing a Lotus servicing dealer will want to order the parts from Lotus, especially for warranty work. They're not going to do the legwork to find a cross from Toyota and take the risk.

So even though it's a Japanese part we could get from any Toyota dealer, it will probably come from UK. I would expect this to cause longer repair downtime.
That doesn't make sense at all to me. For the Toyota parts, maybe the dealers won't get parts from Toyota, but I cetainly hope LCU would. Why would LCU/Lotus pay to have Toyota parts shipped from overseas when there should be an abundant supply of Toyota parts here in the U.S.?
 

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I think a lot of concerns about parts/repairs will be allayed when you see the quality of your car. It's really put together nicely, and I see little reason to expect an inordinate number of problems.
 
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