08 November 2007
Lotus Cars is a manufacturer of sports cars known for their light weight and fine handling. It was founded by Colin Chapman in 1952 and is based in Hethel, Norfolk, UK. The site is a the former RAF base and the test track is the old runway. It entered Formula 1 in 1957 and took the world title seven times. It is now owned by Proton. Much of it’s business is in consultancy work, especially suspensions and powertrains for other manufacturers. It currently makes the Elise, Exige & recently Europa.
Getting production or sales figures is like trying to find water in the Sahara Desert. For example, I gleaned that 2006 production was 3,000. However, the US, it’s biggest market is a bit of a mystery. I was of the opinion about 2,500 were sold there, but if you add UK 820, Japan 450, France, Germany & Canada 130 odd each, Italy 80, Switzerland 75 etc, it’s gone well past 3k. I’m thinking the US figure is too high. Anyway, sales of sports cars is fickle, most sell in summer. Also, 5,000 were made in 2005, 2,000 more than '06. So that kind of fluctuation makes profit impossible.
Porsche is getting away from just sports cars as it nearly went broke not so long ago just relying on them. Lotus loses money but is a valuable contributor to the motor industry and adds character to the car market. Colin Chapman’s motto: "performance through light weight" has been faithfully adhered to and continues in the cars we see today.