Former GM chief Bob Lutz backs Lotus's ambitious range expansion plans

Automotive elder statesman and former General Motors chief Bob Lutz has said he gives the new Lotus recovery plan “a 60 per cent chance at least” of achieving its objective of launching five new models, moving prices towards the £100,000 bracket and finding 6000 to 7000 buyers a year.

Lutz was recently invited by Lotus CEO Dany Bahar to become a member of Lotus’s senior advisory board of industry experts, put together to advise on the running of the company.

Read the full story on all of Lotus's new models

“People keep asking me if I’m sure the new plan will work,” Lutz told Autocar, “and of course I can’t guarantee that. It’s a risk. But I’m quite certain it stands a better chance than the Lotus status quo, which for sure would eventually lead this great brand into terminal decline.”

Lutz admitted that Bahar’s unprecedented strategy of revealing five new models at once contains “a fair bit of showbiz”, and acknowledged that the cars and timings are likely to change a good deal before they hit the market. But he claimed the idea of making cars that are “fantastically desirable” is the only option and exactly the way to go.

He said Lotus’s backers, which indirectly include the Malaysian government, are taking “a pretty big gamble”. But he added, “The engineering I’ve seen so far is very good, and they’re definitely going about it the right way. The money they’re spending on each model is only a fraction of what we’d have spent at GM on similar projects.”

Steve Cropley

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22

14 December 2010

"Lutz admitted that Bahar’s unprecedented strategy of revealing five new models at once contains “a fair bit of showbiz”"

At this end of the market, if that's what attracts customers then so be it. I would imagine this won't be the last bit of showbiz marketing that we will see from the "new" Lotus.

" “The engineering I’ve seen so far is very good, and they’re definitely going about it the right way."

I don't think anyone has ever question Lotus' engineering ability, the problem has always been the money and backing to get the right models to market.

This time it would appear they are in the right position to do it, but I am sure that has been said before!

 

 

It's all about the twisties........

6 December 2012

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14 December 2010

[quote TegTypeR]This time it would appear they are in the right position to do it, but I am sure that has been said before[/quote]

Too many times to count Teg, far too many. Lets hope it works out this time though, but somehow the nagging doubt in the back of my head sits there....

To live is to drive

14 December 2010

Lotus are doing a Man City - spending big to get the talent and trying to achieve success overnight. There will be a few hiccups on the way, and it may turn into a Portsmouth or Leeds instead, but it's fun to see them try and we can but wish them every success.

14 December 2010

[quote Autocar] “a 60 per cent chance at least” [/quote]

Hardly the percentage that is going to attract a lot of investment interest is it?

14 December 2010

He's been a big figure in the car industry, but I'm afraid it's very hard to see what "Maximum Bob" has to offer these days. Certainly, the development of a 21st century sports car brand looks a little outside of his comfort zone.

Lotus cars have been starved of investment - the Elise is now getting on a bit (and arguably is too expensive to build, hence its high price) and the Evora, though apparently a fundamentally great car, lacks that final 10% of polish needed to compete in its sector.

Yet it doesn't automatically follow that buying another F1 team and putting Naomi Campbell on the payroll makes sense either. I fear that Proton have been flattered by the attention of glamorous car types who will spend a fair bit of cash before bailing out and leaving Lotus in a worse position than before.

However, some of the new cars do look good - if they can deliver a new Esprit as promised, then they will be well on the way. But I worry that they won't deliver.

14 December 2010

I'm not convinced maintaining the Lotus status quo would lead to the decline of the brand. There's still a very big market for small, light weight, driver focussed machinery isn't there? Lotus are the best in the business at making such cars.

14 December 2010

I dont think Lotus' current market is that big. Their product range is still a bit too hardcore for most people who are (a bit soft) and used to soft-touch plastics, automatic this and that a gadgets a go-go. And as on the BMW 1 series thread, a lot wouldn't know what to make of the 'feel' of actually driving a car....

Unfortunately it would be a bit like LandRover plugging away with just the Defender when all the money is made by the WAGs bling-mobiles. Lotus is a business and needs to make money, complaining it's changing is like complaing your high street is all estate agents and coffee shops when you merrily drive to Tesco....

14 December 2010

[quote Les Paul]There's still a very big market for small, light weight, driver focussed machinery isn't there? Lotus are the best in the business at making such cars[/quote]

In a word, no. They can't sell most of them in the US due to crash regulations, the growing markets of China etc don't see the point - they think bigger is better, and ever more restrictive Euro crash regulations are turning them more and more towards being track specials only rather than road cars in Europe, and there is a very competitive market for something considered an expensive toy with a small customer base. If it stayed in that market it would turn into a company the size of caterham, which just copied the original Lotus, and become something of an irrelevance.

A large amount of people bought the Mk1 Elise as a primary car and something to get to work in, then realised it was so compromised they then bought something with a few creature comforts instead.

14 December 2010

[quote pete_79]Unfortunately it would be a bit like LandRover plugging away with just the Defender when all the money is made by the WAGs bling-mobiles. Lotus is a business and needs to make money, complaining it's changing is like complaing your high street is all estate agents and coffee shops when you merrily drive to Tesco...[/quote]

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