Editorial: The Best Laid Plans Of Lotus And Men

Derek Kreindler
by Derek Kreindler

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.

Derek Kreindler
Derek Kreindler

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  • Krhodes1 Krhodes1 on Sep 24, 2014

    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.

  • Landcrusher Landcrusher on Sep 24, 2014

    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.

  • SCE to AUX SCE to AUX on Sep 24, 2014

    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.

  • Tjh8402 Tjh8402 on Sep 24, 2014

    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.