By on September 24, 2014

1024px-LotusEvora-front

Reports of the demise of Lotus in America have been greatly exaggerated. Lotus will revive the Evora for a 2016 model year run, complete with up-to-spec airbags, while dealers will be held over by whatever remaining inventory is left from the 2014 model year (or earlier).

The big question for Lotus USA is whether that will be enough to sustain Lotus dealers in the USA. Without a retail network, Lotus can’t sell cars – but the dealers need something to sustain them, even if volumes are low (according to Automotive News estimates, Lotus sold about 112 cars in America, year-to-date). Service and parts sales aren’t likely to be sufficient, though it’s conceivable that the vast majority of Lotus franchises are not stand alone entities.

Even so, this presents the question: will selling a few track day specials and left over Evoras be able to sustain the Lotus retail network in the United States. At best, whatever other brands the dealer is selling will be subsidizing the Lotus operations. At worst, it will present dealers with cash flow problems due to having to move a lineup of year old or non-street legal cars.

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14 Comments on “Editorial: The Best Laid Plans Of Lotus And Men...”


  • avatar
    FreedMike

    Derek:

    I know this is the blogosphere and all, but may I respectfully suggest you do some fact checking before you publish stories? Two days this company was going under, and now it’s not?

    Did someone bother to call the company to get their side of the story? When I got my journalism degree, that’s what we were trained to do.

    I love this site, but things like this compromise your credibility.

    • 0 avatar

      FreedMike,

      The story wasn’t that “this company was going under.” It was that Lotus had ceased sales of road cars in America as of the 2015 model year. As far as we know, this is still the plan.

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        Derek, all due respect, but you’re parsing here. This site posted a story two days ago saying Lotus was going to stop selling cars in the United States. I don’t think I’m alone in interpreting that as meaning that their intent was to stop doing business here. Now we have a story saying that’s not the case (unless, of course, I’m misinterpreting the sentence “Reports of the demise of Lotus in America have been greatly exaggerated”).

        Seems to me a call to Lotus to confirm (or at least let them give their side of the story) would have been in order. As it is, you have two conflicting stories about the same manufacturer in as many days, sourced from other blogs or magazines. That doesn’t do much for the site’s credibility.

        Please take this as constructive criticism from a longtime TTAC reader.

        • 0 avatar
          HerrKaLeun

          FreedMike: you make the mistake to have expectations. I gave up a long time ago to expect actual fact from DK. The really good articles with researched facts are from Cain, Barurh etc. Only when I’m bored I read DK articles since this is a problem with most his articles.

          Sorry to say, but this is a sad fact. No offense and I don’t claim I could write better articles.

        • 0 avatar

          FreedMike,

          I think you’re reading far too much into an opening line that I took creative license with, and was meant to poke fun at the suggestion that Lotus was dead in America. Not the case, since many people forget that they still sell track only cars.

          The title of the original story that you are referring to as being inaccurate was and remains “Lotus Ceases Sales Of Road Cars In America”.

          https://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/lotus-ceases-sales-road-cars-america/

          Here’s the opening graf

          “As of 2015, Lotus will no longer sell road cars in the United States, as sales of the Evora sports car come to an end.”

          I cannot understand how that story could have been more clear in specifying the cessation of Lotus’ ROAD CAR business, while maintaining that they’d continue to sell non-legal track vehicles.

        • 0 avatar
          Pch101

          To be fair here, he was blogging these stories, i.e. passing on and commenting on information obtained from some other source.

          The no-more-street-legal Lotuses (Loti?) story came from C/D. This whoa!-not-quite story came from Jalopnik.

          It wasn’t original reporting, it was a blog. Think of it as retweeting a story that you didn’t research yourself, and then adding your opinion to it.

          Car and Driver is a reputable source for car news, and in this case, there wasn’t much reason to not believe them.

    • 0 avatar
      tresmonos

      Freedmike: are you obtuse enough to think companies only exist in America?

      Your posts are amazingly void of intelligence. WTF is this, some imaginative witch hunt in the name of journalism?

  • avatar
    Jean-Pierre Sarti

    my impression was that most new Lotus cars are sold through the typical independent “exotic” car dealership (i.e. Aston, Maserati, etc). so it would not affect them all that much if they are diversified enough. if they are still in business now with the poor sales they probably will be in the future when the new cars come over.

  • avatar
    stuki

    Special interest brands like this really ought to be able to rely on a single dealer, who gathers enough interested buyers to make it worth vile for Lotus to do a run of US cars. Or perhaps not even that, but rather simply some group buy coordinator. With independent mechanics servicing service them. There is no reason why Lotus should need an infrastructure similar to Toyota, just on a smaller scale.

  • avatar
    Travis

    How much did the dealer network grow past 2004? Before the Elise came along, Lotus survived by servicing and rarely selling Esprits and front drive Elans. Most Lotus dealers/service locations were attached to much larger luxury dealerships. The Elise just let those locations grow a bit to better allay the apprehensions from the car buyer who wasn’t looking for something as specific as an Esprit. Buyers dropping 40-60 grand on a small roadster expect different things from dealerships when buying their cars.

    So, I guess what I’m trying to say is this – they survived plenty fine on the Esprit and Elan. Why won’t they be fine through servicing Esprits, Elans, Elises, Evoras, and the occasional sell to a buyer looking for something specific and special?

  • avatar
    krhodes1

    The dealer network will survive just fine, selling all the OTHER cars those dealers sell, and servicing the existing Lotus cars out there. The two Lotus dealers that I can think of are a corner of an Aston Martin dealership in MA, and a corner of a gigantic Mercedes Jaguar LandRover Maserati, and god knows what else in NJ. While I am sure there has to be at least one ancient stand-alone Lotus dealer somewhere, they probably make their bones selling used cars and service anyway.

    Ain’t nobody ever gotten rich selling new Lotus, including Colin Chapman himself.

  • avatar
    Landcrusher

    Well, my Mercedes, Volvo, Aston, and Lotus dealer has a few 2014’s on the lot, so I guess I shouldn’t fear if I get an itch for an Evora.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    So Lotus might sell 160 cars in the US this year. They are effectively gone already.

    This tree fell in the woods a long time ago, and nobody was there to hear it.

  • avatar
    tjh8402

    As others have said, I’m guessing that Lotus dealers are typically not single make. The Lotus dealer here in Orlando also sells Infinitis and Aston Martins (dealer slogan with accompanying pictures: fast, faster, fastest). Lord knows the service departments will continue generating strong margins for dealers.

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