Postscript to the Lotus press release disaster

Some people think that I used to carry on too much about the poor and often unjustified press coverage that Saab received and how it would effect the public’s confidence in what Saab were trying to do. And those complaints were often during what were comparatively good times, just after the sale from GM.

The aftermath of Lotus’ press release disaster has seen CAR Magazine take a look at the persistent press that preceded the company’s very unfortunate statement.

…..at the merest hint of trouble the naysayers are on the case, speculating wildly about a calamitous end, pouring ill-considered fuel onto the fire. Now don’t get me wrong: as journalists it’s our job to dig out the facts and not to shy away from bad news; but what these stories are doing is effectively hastening any slide. If Lotus IS clinging on by its metaphorical fingertips, the current media frenzy is stamping on its fingers.

The reason this matters is all about confidence. Once potential customers catch the whiff of trouble they put their chequebooks away. And once the fire is alight it’s desperately hard to extinguish. Perception IS reality; rumours become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Who’s going to make the second-biggest purchase of their life from a company that might not be around to supply parts and servicing and honour warranties? Ask Saab.

Lotus’ public statement today was a mistake and a disaster, but I hope the circumstances that led to it subside soon (i.e. the media speculation, not the Sniff Petrol joke).

——

As a postscript to the postscript, let me also share this. It’s from my article earlier today….

With regard to Lotus, I can’t think of a single motoring journalist worth their salt who sincerely wishes them harm. I can think of a few who enjoy the opportunity to take a sensationalist stab at them in order to further their own publishing efforts. They’re akin to those who would stop and take a photo at a car crash. But anyone seriously into cars would want to see Lotus succeed into the future. Some may not have much faith in current management, but they want Lotus to hang in there and succeed.

Again a comment on the subject from the CAR Magazine article:

Anyone who loves cars should love Lotus, and every motoring journalist I have ever met has had at the very least a soft spot for the brand and a fond memory or two tucked away.

As already mentioned, I hope they can get over this the best way a car company can – by delivering great product.

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4 Comments

  1. Very true. Confidence is a key to so much in life. WRT CAR however, although they are arguably the best informed and most balanced magazine in their field, they too have taken the odd shot at Lotus over the last year or so. Hard not too I suppose, Lotus have done some pretty strange stuff. Whatever happens, I hope Lotus are around for a long time to come.

  2. Half my friends thought Saab was dead in 2010, and a lot of that was based on media reports (it stuck in their head and the on-off negotiations with Youngman really killed confidence among the dealers and the public. Even today I decided not to buy a 95 with a four year warranty because if anything happens to it, it could be stuck at the garage for months before spare parts turn up).

  3. Lotus have their main UK site just 5 miles from my former and much loved home in Norfolk, UK. Many people in the village I lived in work at, or are connected with, Lotus in Hethel.

    Lotus build exactly the sports cars that we should be aspiring to in the future. Light vehicles with good power to weight ratios but not with huge gas-guzzling engines so that one can have immense fun whilst maintaining an environmental conscience.

    I hope they survive, although judging by their approach to PR this is unlikely.

  4. Further to my comments above, I decided to have a look at what’s available Lotus wise in Australia.

    Suffice to say, I will not be buying one anytime soon when ten year old Elise’s are selling for the same price as new ones in the UK.

    I don’t think it will matter how long I live in Australia, I will never get over the price of cars here and the cheerful manner in which the Australian buyer gets well and truly done over. Astonishing.

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