comming to the America?

Discussion in '2000 Lotus Elise 111S' started by EliseS2, Aug 10, 2002.

  1. Re: comming to the America?

    The acceleration from 0-60 is slower, but in gear acceleration (when already in motion) is alot higher than a stock elise.
  2. Re: comming to the America?

    <!-- QUOTE --><center><hr width="90%"></center><blockquote><i>Quote from EliseS2</i>
    <b>Wether you like it or not, they are coming here. The lotus Chairman said they do not have a choice. Last year lotus lost (i think around) 78 million euros. Proton will not pay for those kinds of losses and not too many car companies will want to buy them. The lotus chairman also did say that the M250 is back on kinda. The new car will be similar to the M250, but with some differences. </b></blockquote><center><hr width="90%"></center><!-- END QUOTE -->

    I would love for Lotus to release a new car in the US (although it doesn't really matter to me personally, as I don't live there anymore).

    However, if they release the current Elise S2 or something virtually identical to it, I think they'll lose their shirts. The number of Americans would would pay ~$40,000 for an Elise (with or without A/C or power windows) is very small. Too small to support the costs of bringing the car to the US. The Elise will appeal only to those who can afford to spend 40 grand on a weekend fun car. Anyone who thinks the Elise is a functional daily-driver is fooling themselves.

    Like many Americans, I have been in love with the idea of the Elise since it was introduced. Like very few Americans, I have spent significant time in one. I rented one (an S2 with the sport-touring package) for a week to see if reality matched my hopes.

    I was both delighted and disappointed by the car. The plusses are stupendous. The acceleration is breathtaking. People talk this car down because it only has 120bhp. What they don't realize is that this car accelerates more like a motorcycle than a car. There are no words to describe what keeping a car this light does for acceleration. Add near telepathic handling to a car that will slide before it rolls and the phrase "on rails" simply doesn't do justice to what this car does to winding roads. In the road-manners department, this car simply shames everything else I've ever driven or ridden in. I can't speak from experience but I've heard people who have driven the best Italy and Germany have to offer in the handling department say that the Lotus Elise blows them all away.

    And I believe them.

    Anyone who has any sort of love for sports cars owes it to themselves to drive an Elise at least once in their lives. It is simply a must.

    Now for the downside: For a company who knows all about the most advanced auto-manufacturing techniques and can make cars that will corner better that other cars at half the speed, Lotus has a LOT to learn about refinement and ergonomics. Either that, or they just don't care about these things. Leaving out all but the most trivial sound insulation in a car the size of the Elise is one thing. But leaving most of the exposed interior surfaces highly reflective of sound is just silly. The result is a car that you couldn't drive comfortably at freeway speeds without ear protection.

    The interior looks like a kit-car built by someone with more skill than budget. What there is of the instrumentation and interior detail is pretty well finished. But the interior could politely be called "minimalistic". Some people will be charmed by it. I was. Many others would call it "cheap" and say "I don't care how well it drives, I'm not spending that much money on a car that looks like a college auto-shop project built with some help from a couple of art students.

    Something else about the interior. It simply isn't big enough for the average American. Compared to the Elise, the Toyota MR2 Spyder is like a Cadillac. If you're more than 5'10 or measure more than 34" around the biggest part of your middle, you won't fit comfortably. That leaves out many Americans as potential customers - particularly those who could afford to spend that much on a weekend car.

    Which brings me to entry and exit. It simply can't be done with any sort of grace or comfort except perhaps for a gymnast. I realize that British sports cars have a long and proud history of requiring agility to enter or leave but this is WAY beyond a Lotus Elan or E-type Jaguar.

    I would be greatly surprised if Lotus sells more than a thousand Elises on bringing them to the states.

    Who is their target audience?

    I'd say the most likely customer for the Elise as it stands are young, iconoclastic males (late teens to mid 20s) who are either already wealthy in their own right or are the children of wealthy parents who want a car more for the statement it makes than for any measure of practicality and unlike all their peers who are buying Honda S2000s and Porsche Boxters, they want something different.

    The sad fact is that although the Lotus may drive rings around both those cars, it can't hold a candle to either one in terms of being something that you could comfortably and happily drive every day for a year or more and put 5,000-10,000 miles on it (or more) in the process.
  3. Re: comming to the America?

    To address your points...

    1. If Lotus needs to sell 10,000 cars/year in the US to survive, we may as well send out the funeral invitations now. Last I heard, they sell about 1,200 cars a year. Jaguar is being ambition in trying to double their sales with the introduction of the X-type. Lotus wants to increase theirs by nearly an order of magnitude? They will need a singularly stunning car to do this. One that is priced right, has the right features and appeals to American tastes. A great as it is in many ways, the Elise just isn't that car. The M250 might have been if they hadn't pulled the plug on it and if they'd been able to get it to American dealers at the right price (high $30k, max). But that isn't going to happen. The Elan S2 had more going for it in terms of just about everything (apart from the purists who snubbed it because it had front-wheel drive) and Lotus didn't sell 10,000 of them over the car's entire lifespan much less in a single year. Kia bought the rights to produce the car and they don't think there's enough of an American market to bring in cars they've already built.

    However, I doubt Lotus is going to pack it in anytime soon. Proton may get tired of paying the bills and sell them to someone else. They've been through many owners over the past decade, who knows... GM may buy them back. Personally, I think Proton will do what GM should have done (instead of selling them to Bugatti) and keep them on board as an in-house engineering resource and let them fool around making their own cars as long as they don't lose much money doing it.

    2. Who knows what engine they'll use. If they follow past patterns, they'll take some nice, generic engine and revamp it beyond the wildest dreams of the original designers. I'd love to have seen the look on that anonymous GM engineer's face when he found out that Lotus had redone his 2 liter 4-pot and turned it into the fire-breathing 2.2l 300+ bhp monster that graced the Esprit S4S.

    3. You're right, demand is hard to predict. However, if you're going to sell a car for nearly US$40,000 that is impractical to own as an "only car" then you have to expect that demand will suffer as a result of people wanting that car but not being able to afford it.

    4. Yes, yoga is popular, but Americans like their cars to be reasonably easy to enter and leave. The Elise could be but isn't.

    5-6. See #1.

    7. The S2 Elise has many incremental improvements over the original and can rightly be considered a new incarnation of the vehicle. It just doesn't make sense to re-do the car again so soon after the release of the new model. That's how customer bases are alienated and lost. A different model is another thing. But we'll see...

    8. The M250 has been cancelled. At least according to the press notices I've read. I'll admit that I don't have any moles in the company, but there are no references to it on their web site so...

    9. You want one? I understand! I rented one for a week and it was AWESOME!! So, if you want one... get one. There are ways to get them into the US and legally on the road. Why wait for a car that may or may not ever come to the states. If I was still in the US, I'd probably try to find one with a blown engine, import it and then put a Mazda rotary engine... that should solve the torque problems, eh?
  4. Re: comming to the America?

    I hate to burst anyone's bubble but there is are several fundamental problems with bringing the Elise officially to the US.

    1. Lotus couldn't justify the costs of certifying the Rover K engine for North American sale. The fact that it already complies with even stricter European emission standards is beside the point. They'd still have to jump through all the DOT hoops and they simply can't afford to. The only alternative is to use an engine that is already certified for sale in North America and it just isn't likely that they would swap engines this far into the car's lifespan (even though they did for the Esprit).

    2. No airbags. As I recall, the DOT won't allow the sale of new cars without airbags. Adding them would require a pretty major re-design of the car which Lotus is unlikely to do.

    3. No A/C. The purists can whine all they like about the evils of air-con but leaving it off limits sales of the car to those who can afford to use it as a second car - which is a fraction of the potential market. They'd be fools to do that.

    4. Not sophisticated enough for mass appeal. Say what you will about how fun it is to drive - it is a loud car. Much louder that most Americans would willingly tolerate in their daily driver. Again, that either means more soundproofing or settle for the car having limited appeal to rich sports-car geeks. Then there's the issue of getting in and out of the thing... Unless you're a gifted gymnast or yoga practitioner, entry and exit is a pain. This, along with the spartan cabin, kit-car feel and gearing that discourages freeway use will all discourage people from considering this as a daily car. It just doesn't compare to things like the Miata or MR2 in terms of refinement or price. Although, to be fair, it has far more luggage space than the MR2.

    5. Last and worst, the fact of the matter is that Lotus seems to be selling all the Elises they can make without the American market. Why on earth would they spend a penny or their money or a minute of their time to go after a market they don't need?

    What does all this add up to? Lotus would be fools to spend any significant effort to get the Elise into the US. Americans who want one badly enough to go the trouble of getting can already do so and many have. If Lotus wants to get back into the American market, they need a new car. Something that combines the good points of the Elise and the Esprit and brings some new benefits.

    The M250 was to be such a car but the project was cancelled. Plus, I'm not sure how good an idea it would have been. What should the price be for such a car? If it is too close to the Elise, it would alienate existing customers. If the price is too much higher than the Elise, then it is out of the realm of being a mainstream contender.

    Besides, Lotus' key values simply aren't shared by American sportscar-buyers at this time. TVR would have a better chance of making it big in the American market right now than Lotus.
  5. i heared that this sweet ride is comming to the US in the comming month, is this true? can anyone confirm this?<!-- Signature -->
  6. Re: comming to the America?

    Not in a month. Trust me when this thing comes, everyone will know. The M250 was suposed to come, but since it is being redisgned, Lotus wants its name back in the US. So they are working on federalizing the car (alowing it to be sold here). And as a bonus thier may be a supercharger or turbo option.
  7. Re: comming to the America?

    this car is not supose to come to the U.S. but u can get it throught a little company which chages it's engine to a honda i-VTEC engine in which ruins everything. it has a slower acceleration but slightly better topspeed<!-- Signature -->
  8. Re: comming to the America?

    There is no way this car is comming to the states. There is no way that after 5 years of production that they are going to change the engine either. The M250 has been canned. It will be three years before they will be able to bring another car to market.
  9. Re: comming to the America?

    Lotus chairman says that it will come over by 2004. This came from CAR and EVO magazines. They were both interviews and the chairman also said some other interesting things too.
  10. Re: comming to the America?

    Elise S2 Is correct, it is in the December 2001 issue of car, one of the best issues I have ever read. 2004 should be the date.

    Also It is a bold statement saying that the rover K series engine is a piece of shit (that is what POS means isn't it?). It is a fact that the K seriese is used in so many cars it is not funny! All MGFs have it, including the trophy (160 bhp version). The MG verson of the Rover 25 has it, the lotus elise mark 1 and 2 has it, the aerial atom uses it (in 118, 145, 160, 190, and 240 bhp versions). All of these cars are fast and in a car lide the atom or the elise it gets 42+ mpg (but then who really cares about that).

    Hopefully the 240 bhp version of the K series (which would drill a honda vtec any day) may one day reach the elise, then we are in for some fun.

    PS if any lotus executives or engineers or designers read this, please put a 240 bhp version of the K series in an elise, it would be magicle.<!-- Signature -->
  11. Re: comming to the America?

    I visited the Lotus dealer on 12-26-01. He told me that the car would
    be available in the U.S. in March of 2003. He said that the car is
    rumored to have 200 HP but didn't know much else. It is being re-designed for the U.S. market, and will be slightly larger. They are
    taking deposits. List price with A/C is to be around $38,000.00.
    Lotus is supposed to make the official announcement in Mid January 2002. He said that he could give me all the specs of the car in about
    2 weeks. I will probably put up a deposit for one. jj
  12. Re: comming to the America?

    If they put Air con in they will ruin it. neither does it need to be bigger. Would like to see what they are going to do for an engine. They can't use the K-series, maybe what they are going to announce is the joint engine deal between Lotus and MG. There is loads of other stuff they would need to do for it to be legal in the states such as side inpact bars and Air bags...etc.

    Don't Get me wrong I'm not against change or that this car should go to America but Pandering to US legislation Killed MG off for 20 years and i don't wanna see Lotus go the same way
  13. Re: comming to the America?

    Ya the Lotus Elise is coming to America, my friends dad is best friends with the president of Lotus in the United States. Theyll be here in 2003
  14. Re: comming to the America?

    In 2003 Lotus is bringing the Elise to America! It will have 190hp and a 6 speed transmision. When it comes it will be about $30,000 to $40,000. It will kill the Porsche Boxter in every area and it is cooler looking so I am expecting it to be a huge success.
  15. Re: comming to the America?

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  16. Re: comming to the America?

    Please tell me this car will be sold in North America. I want one so bad, but I couldn't put a system in :( Oh well, it'll still be worth it.
  17. Re: comming to the America?

    Just to add my 2c. There where 2 at the LA auto show. I sat in one and talked to the dealer (out of florida, forgot the company) he told me that they will be available in the states from Sept 2003, they would be $38,000 and they would not have the K series engine. I asked them what they would have and he couldn't tell me apart from it isn't a Lotus engine, and that "You're gonna love it"

    The debate for me is whether to get this or a Cerbera when TVR comes over here (originally scheduled for 2001 but my money is on 2003 now.) The Lotus is better handling and supposedly more fun on the road, but the Cerbera will kill it on the track. Its in a different league.<!-- Signature -->
  18. Re: comming to the America?

    To address your points...

    1. New generation of Elise? They just released the S2. So you're saying the S3 (if and when there is one) will be designed with a North America release in mind? Do you have any idea when this is planned? Its the first I've heard.

    2. The Freelander may have an engine from the "K Series", but I doubt it has anything to do with the 1.8l 4-cylinder power plant in the Elise. It is a fine engine in many ways, but astoundingly unsuitable for an SUV. However, I agree with you that the best thing for Lotus to do if they want to sell the Elise in the US is to use a different engine than the one it now has.

    3. The VX220 is a very different car from the Elise despite being made at the same factory and sharing some components and technology. Actually, I'm surprised that GM hasn't tried to intruduce the 220 at least on a trial basis in the US. I think they're closer to having a car ready for DOT certification than Lotus. They certainly have more financial resources to pull this off.

    4. Huge demand in the states? What's your definition of huge? If that was true that dude in Georgia or Florida who puts Honda VTEC engines in Elises would be doing a bit more business. There is certainly a lot of talk - but talk doesn't necessarily translate into sales. I'll give you that there is a lot of excitement about the *idea* of the Elise.

    The problem is, having driven one, I realize that as lovely as it is, the car has little chance capturing anything but a tiny cult following of those who view the cars flaws as the price of admission to a transcendental driving experience.

    Put another way, there are comparitively few Americans willing or able to drop ~$37,000 on a car like the Elise. There would be lines around the block for test drives but I'll wager that 19 out of 20 test drivers would be unwilling or unable to live with it as a daily driver and the number of people able to spend nearly 40 grand on a weekender is pretty small.

    If it does come to the states, I'll bet that it becomes at least as popular as the Dodge Viper. But Mazda won't be worrying about losing any Miata sales to Lotus. Ditto with Toyota (MR2 Spider), Honda (S2000), Porsche (Boxter), etc...

    5. As far as Lotus' survival goes... According to what I read, they're selling all the Elises they can make in the UK, Europe and Australia/New Zealand. And as if that weren't enough, their future isn't in doubt as long as Proton keeps paying their bills. They had a Christmas promotion in the UK where a new Elise could be had for a modest down payment and payments of £199/month. It just ended and Lotus shows no signs of having to renew it. The dealer close to me only has one car in stock at this time.

    To answer your question, I don't think I'm smarter than the head of Lotus. But, I do know the difference between interest and sales and I bet he does too. The fact is that someone who wants a Lotus Elise badly enough can get one. I used to live near a place in Southern California that would import one and handle all the frog-walking needed to get it registered to drive on California roads. As far as I ever heard, not one person ever took them up on it. The few that they did bring in were for track use and so the owners didn't bother getting them made street-legal.

    So, the question isn't whether or not they can be had, but why aren't more people getting them and why more people aren't using them as road cars and daily drivers. I'll tell you why...

    1. For most people who are used to the build-quality of a British, Japanese or German sports car, the Elise just doesn't measure up. It isn't bad and some people (as I was) will be charmed by the minimalist interior. Others will see the near absence of internal details, the clunky doors and windows and the kit-car instrumentation and say "This costs almost 40 grand?! Forget it, I don't care how great it drives!"

    2. The car needs to SERIOUS attention to soundproofing. The fact that they put a stereo (and a nice one) in it is a joke. At freeway speeds you can't even hear the radio unless you turn it up loud enough to cause permanent hearing damage.

    3. It is too low for most people. Don't get me wrong, I love it. However, the combination of the seat and sill height make it impossible to comfortably enter or exit the car with the roof on. With the roof off, it is only nearly impossible. It took me about a week to figure out how to do it without discomfort but getting in and out will never be easy.

    4. The gearing is wrong. At freeway speeds, the engine revs at about 4,000rpm in 5th gear. They either need to change the box or add a 6th speed. Great for sprints but awful for long-distance.

    5. The pedals are too close together for people with feet my size (10 1/2).

    Then there's my wish: The engine needs more torque. Not a lot more, just a little. Maybe a turbocharger would handle it. Maybe a little more displacement. Lotus is the king of sqeezing a quart out of a pint pot. It should be no big thing for them.

    But, if Lotus wants to make a splash in the US, their best bet is a different car altogether. In a perfect world, they'd drop the prices of the Elise to the point where they could introduce something along the lines of the M250 at about US$40,000 without alienating their customer base.

    I just can't help thinking that bring the Elise to the US - as is or virtually unchanged - is a waste of money for them. They'll sell a few dozen to fanatics (like me) who would use it as their only car because they're so in love with it and several hundred to people with the money to buy it as a second or third car. Now, compare this to the millions they'll spend on prepping the car, promotion, etc...

    How is this going to make money for them?

  19. Re: comming to the America?

    1.You do have many good points, but still the head of Lotus said to survive they need to sell 10,000 cars a year in the states. That is nothing. Corvettes sell about 50,000 a year. And that 10,000 includes both the elise s3 and the M250 (or similar) and the Esprit replacement.

    2.The k-series is a modualar engine concpet that uses the same cylinder heads (one big thing in emmisions) and many other parts across the board. The k-series v-6 are similar to the k-series i-4 in many respects to save money in engineering. But as said earlier it will be a new engine with a rumored 6-speed.

    3.Demand, neither of us could accuratly predict the demand for these cars. I think they could sell enough, but you say no. We will just have to wait and see.

    4.Yoga is very popular.

    5.They need to do this survive, if they fail at selling in America they are screwed. If they dont sell in America they are also screwed.

    6.Why would the Lotus chairman say that they need to sell in America or they will die. This really does not inspire confidence in future buyers. Who wants to buy a car from a company that will cease to exist in a year.

    7.Remember the s2 is basicaly a s1, but with new body, new suspension, new tires, and an engine upgrade. The the Elise will almost be a ten year old design by 2004 (lets not bring up the Esprit). The S3 will be more like the vx220, bigger, airbags, and anti-lock brakes. The airbags in the vx220 are borrowed from the lambo diablo. They probably would work in an elise (with a different wheel of course).

    8.The elise, m250, and esprit will be built off a similar chassis, well in design at least. This way alot of the cost will be spread between the three.

    9.I really want one!
  20. Re: comming to the America?

    Here is how it is comming to America.

    1.It will not be this generation of the Elise, it will be a new generation with new engine and tranny.

    2.The engine will be a from a partnership with another comapany (probably rover, who plans on bringing cars over here, the motor in the Range Rover Freelander is a K-series over here in America.)

    3.They can carry over airbags from VX220 or Speedster

    4.There is a huge demand in the states. Look at US lotus's website, there is more about the elise than the esprit. My dad knows a lotus dealer and he says nearly every day someone comes in asking for an elise.

    5.Lotus will not survive without brining the Elise to America. The Chairman of Lotus said in both CAR and EVO that for lotus to survive that they need to sell the Elise and next gen Esprit and M250 (they are making something similar) in the States.

    Trust me there are plenty of people that would buy this car in America. You think Britian is the only place people buy stripped out cars. You will get people all over America crawling over this car. You can survive withour air-con. So if you are thinking you are smarter than the head of lotus (who has headed many other large companies, won an olympic medal for sailing, and is a classicaly trained singer), than go right ahead and apply for the job.
  21. Re: comming to the America?

    U mention some good points there but I have to disagree with u on some.
    The interior of the Elise is fantastic, it's not meant to be a comfortable cruiser but is a stripped out road racer........we all agree that the Elise is very loud inside the cabin especially for long journeys but is that was u buy it for? I wanted a car to cruise mile after mile of boring motorways then I'd buy a Jag.
    U are definatly right about it's handling and is without doubt the best handling car in the world, I currently own a Subaru Inpreza Turbo but my ambition is to own an exotic pure sports cars and am torn between a Tuscan or an Elise S2.....but if I bought the Elise I'd keep the Impreza because I couldn't live with the Elise day in day out.
    I agree what u say about the American market.....but remember the Elise was designed for the British market not the American, (i'll try to say this tastefully!) is a fact that Americans are somewhat larger than the average Brit and we have enough trouble getting into the Elise as it is so I don't know what the Americans will do.
    But also remember that the British roadster market is very big and people who buy Elises don't buy it for their comfort but for it's ability......if we wanted a comfortable roadster then we'd buy a Boxster.
    The price for the American Elise has been quoted around $38,000(see my post!) which is close to the Boxster.....where in the UK the Elise is £22,000 where the Boxster S is £38,000.....a massive difference.

    I think the Elise would succeed in the American market because it looks brilliant, handles brilliant and embaresses cars like Boxsters, Z3's and TT's and people who buy it.......I think they should lower the price though!............let's just wait until 2003 and we'll see then eh?<!-- Signature -->
  22. Re: comming to the America?

    <!-- QUOTE --><center><hr width="90%"></center><blockquote><i>Quote from porsche1859</i>
    <b>In 2003 Lotus is bringing the Elise to America! It will have 190hp and a 6 speed transmision. When it comes it will be about $30,000 to $40,000. It will kill the Porsche Boxter in every area and it is cooler looking so I am expecting it to be a huge success.</b></blockquote><center><hr width="90%"></center><!-- END QUOTE -->

    Car nuts like us love cars like this. I like it faaaaar more than the Boxster but I can't really see it being successful in this country (USA).<!-- Signature -->
  23. Re: comming to the America?

    This Amazing car was at the Chicago Auto show at the shell exotic car exhibit. It was probably the most popular car at the show because there was always a gigantic storm of people around it every second. According to the statistics shown there, it will debut in America in 2003 with a body very close to "as is". The price will start at $38,500. The engine type was labled as a secret. Lotus is planning to shock the hell out of American consumers supposedly when it actually discloses the engine. This car has a VERY good future in America and I wouldn't be surprised if they have higher demand then quantity in America. Long Live the Elise!!!!<!-- Signature -->
  24. Re: comming to the America?

    Lotus chairman in the EVO interview never once mentioned that in order to be a success they had to sell to America. They aren't trying to Sell 10,000 cars to the states either. They have the capacity to produce 10k units in total. Current production is 7000 units according to EVO. That means that the rest of the world will get only 3000 units which includes the states.

    You have to remember that not many people buy this as there first car.<!-- Signature -->
  25. Re: comming to the America?

    Well, all this speculation about the Elise in the U.S. is true. The
    dealers are taking deposits. I put up a deposit today. They first told me it should be March 2003, but now he says it might be summer of that year. They now say it will be 200 HP and a four cylinder non-turbo car, weighing in at around 1700 lbs. Similar horsepower to weight ratio as the Esprit. There will only be around 2500 cars produced for the U.S. market the first year. All this whinning about air-conditioning is rediculous. If you didn't have it where I live you would have to park the car for 5 months of the year. No one here would buy it, even for weekend use. It's just too hot and humid. With the extra horses you will never notice it has A/C. The interior is not supposed to be as spartan as the European version, and slightly larger for American tastes. Hopefully a 6 speed for highway cruising and insulation for noise.

    I'm a sports car nut and I was smitten by this car. I viewed this as a once in a lifetime opportunity to order a new and truly unique and somewhat exotic car from the factory. I don't know if I'm a fool or a genius, but if it turns out to be junk, I will just sell it and move on. Right now 7 people have put up deposits in our city, so I won't be the only fool. js

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