Today, I see that the Lotus CEO Jean-Marc Gales announced a new open top Evora is in the works. He said that for the first time in many years Lotus will be profitable!
This taken from Autocar,
On Lotus’s finances, Gales said: “We will be cashflow-profitable in this financial year and profitable in the financial year beginning 1 April 2016 for the first time in 60 years.”
This is a pic I borrowed from a comment on Pistonheads in July 2012, by a person using the name Hedgerley.
Apparently, this was ready for sign off under previous CEO Dany Bahar.
Years ago, I remember seeing a TV programme called (I believe) Nuts and Bolts. The programme was talking about the demise of the British car industry. I remember a Union guy saying that the then Rover group had sent one of its sport car models stateside with a six gear manual box and a hardtop. Apparently, it didn't sell...
Having lived in the USA, I can tell you that selling a manual car to the average man in the street is very difficult. Most people have never driven a manual. Selling a sports car with a hard top is possible. IMO selling a car that is a soft top/T top with an Automatic box is a potential winner.
In my younger days, I had a metallic gold Trans Am with black T-tops. In the Detroit area the speed limit was 55mph. The roads were in a grid system. So even though it was a waste of time owning a sports car from a performance point of view, it was great in the Summer for slowly posing about town. Nothing wrong with that. Salesmen are generally quite happy to sell cars to posers!
I hear a lot of people asking in Forums, but what would Colin Chapman do? As I don't pretend to be a psychic I don't know. However, if he followed the six gear/hard top philosophy I would have to say it would be a disaster from a USA sales perspective.
Remember, Colin was happy for anyone to buy a Lotus in a Kit form, and build them anyway they deemed fit anywhere in the world. Why??... I assume, being a pragmatic businessman he thought he could sell more! Caterham and Westfield do the same to this very day.
I'm very happy to see Lotus are producing an Automatic/Soft top version of the Evora. I'm sure they won't stop making the hardtop/manual for those who want one.
Good luck with it!