Lotus lagging behind with sales

After unveiling an ambitious new model plan and drafting in ex-Ferrari execs to take the helm, Lotus still isn't selling enough cars.

Autocar reported that Lotus is having to bolster its sales efforts throughout the next 18 months as the company is "not selling enough cars", according to a senior company advisor.The Norfolk firm brought in former BMW executive Karl-Heinz Kalbfell in a hope to keep sales figures ticking over, as well as mentor ex-Ferrari man Danny Bahar.

In the first eight months of 2011 Lotus sold nearly 25 per cent less cars than over the same period in 2010. According to Kalbfell "the brand is well known but the products are not. We are focusing on a new range of cars, but we must sell more cars now. We have some great cars in our range, like the Evora. Now the point must be to get the car on the shopping list of buyers."

But at £40,000 for a V6 powered Exige S and £60,000 for an Evora S, maybe Lotus's products don't represent the same value for money, or have the same level of engineering and brand integrity as those from the Porsche and BMW stables?

Selling £20-30,000 track cars with astonishingly lithe and agile chassis's and peppy little motors but little in the way of creature comforts is ok, and good business while it lasts, but it seems to have typecast Lotus.

The image of a plastic bodied car with a spartan interior created by the Elise, a car that founded Lotus's modern success, could possibly be the reason the company can't break into the big league of luxury coupes and sportscars – even if the levels of quality in an Evora are equal to that of a Porsche Cayman.

Either way, poor sales in 2011 so far don't bode well for Lotus's new six car strong line up, unveiled at the 2010 Paris Motor Show. If people won't pay £50,000 for a standard Evora, then Lotus need to work extremely hard in the intervening years running up to the launch of the new Esprit.

Getting punters out of their Porsches and into a £100,000-plus Esprit is going to be a tough job for Lotus.
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