It all started with a copy of The AA Book of The Car and then I dismantled my first engine at age 9. A lifelong love of cars has followed, and I have owned quite a few; Mk 1 Escort, Minis, an Alfasud, five Subaru Imprezas, and an Evo VIII MR are some of the good ones. But the one that sticks in my mind was a two-year-old Nissan R35 GTR I bought in 2012 for £45k. I took it to tracks all around the UK as well as several trips to the Nurburgring and Spa. Fun times! But what was an eye-opener to me was selling it four years later for £41,500 – to a dealer. I had no idea that a modern car could be almost depreciation free. So, I became an avid watcher of the classic and modern classic market – I bring all of this to the Bidding Classics – to list the right appreciating classics for your collection.
Lotus is setting itself a Mount Everest of a challenge.
During 2021 they made 1,556 cars. In 2022 that dropped to just 567 – at the same time they also sustained a £145m loss.
The reason for the drop in numbers was their ending production of the old Elise and Exige, and not yet quite rolling out the new Emira.
The Lotus Elise was launched way back in 1996. It used the Lotus standard fibreglass body, but underneath was a high tech glued aluminium chassis using plenty of clever extrusion techniques.
It was a briliant design and only weighed 725kg whilst complying with all 90’s crash legislation around the world. I bought one and loved it, but wished it had a lot more power. The Elise 1 came with a Rover K series engine that only had 120BHP and ran out of steam by 5,500 revs.
Over the years it gained revver and more powerful Toyota engines, sometimes fitted with superchargers. That made all the difference.
The Exige was basically the same car as the Elise but with a solid roof, more designed for track use.
Theat same basic car design kept Lotus going for 25 years – it was ahead of the times in 1996 and still a great car in 2021. I had an Exige Cup which had 430BHP in a car weighing just over a ton. It was an amazing car.
For 2021/ 22 Lotus had a complete range redesign and invested £500m on R&D and manufacturing.
Now they sell the Emira – a petrol replacement for the Elise/ Exige. Their range also includes the £1.5m Evija hypercar and two electric SUVs.
I know that Lotus is now Chinese owned, but I think we should all be pleased that they have retained jobs and factories in the UK, and they have big plans for the future.
But this is where my scepticism kicks in.
Think back to those 567 cars and a £145m loss in 2022. £500m spend is big (but not for car R&D) but wasn’t 1/3 that offset by the huge loss?
And then the forward sales projection – goodness me.
By 2028 (only four years from now) they want to be selling 150,000 cars per year! That is some hockey stick growth curve!
I wish them well.
But here is my little prediction. There aren’t that many Elises and Exiges left – mainly because not that many were ever made.
They are all excellent cars. and I think that whether Lotus spectacularly fails or spectacularly hits its 2028 goal, those ‘old’ Lotuses are going to be very much sought after.
You can thank me later.