Reading through the various forum posts attached to our two news stories about Lotus yesterday, a couple of questions stood out. Firstly, and above all else, posters wanted to know why Lotus had collaborated with (and here I quote Google) American record producer, DJ, rapper and painter Swizz Beatz.
Here’s Lotus CEO Dany Bahar’s view: “This association is not for Europe, but for America. Swizz produced a chromed car with us, it’s appeared in some music videos and the reaction has been fantastic. That world is a different world – when the cars get this kind of visibility, people want to buy them, and I must say the profit margins are very attractive. But please understand, it is a purely US initiative.”
That answer ties in quite nicely with another one about current Lotus sales figures, which have been debated in our forums.
Bahar again: “This year we expect to sell 2700 cars. That volume is slightly down on last year, but it is on track with our targets The key fact is that our revenue from those cars was up 10% in the first year, and is 20% better this year. We are going in the right direction, adding more to our cars, and charging more accordingly.” Finally, another example of that: the Lotus Evora GTE. The hardcore, lightweight Evora was originally launched as a limited edition car for China. Just 25 were to be built, but when Chinese customers arrived in Norfolk they ordered more than 40 – and to date they have put in more than 140 orders. At around £120,000 each, these cars are hugely profitable – just like the Swizz Beatz versions. Plans are now afoot to sell them in America and Europe from next year, and you can see the twinkle in Bahar’s eye as he talks about the GTE. That twinkle’s not just about the cash flow, but the fact that, to a small extent, it proves his long-term plans can work, and that there are people out there willing to pay well over six figure sums for cars built by Lotus. I’m not stood here as a Bahar apologist, but I do find it hard to argue with his hard-nosed business logic of building profitable cars and selling them to willing customers. You?