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Waiting ListsJan 2002 - I've left this page in place but waiting lists are now a thing of the past. In the first few years of Elise production waiting lists were often 8 months long. Production problems, again caused long waiting lists with the launch of the S2 but these were much shorter. Production numbers are now much higher due to more advanced techniques and a modern assembly line at the Lotus factory. When you place an order with a dealer you may have to wait a bit longer than you planned. The reason for this is that when you pay your refundable £1000 deposit it goes into the dealers 'client account' and not to the dealership or Lotus. This stops it getting lost in the unlikely event that the dealer goes into liquidation. Most dealers will only sell you an Elise if they are your nearest dealer, the reason being that they make most of their money in servicing costs. Why sell a car to someone who won't come back to get it serviced when you can sell them all to people that will come back? This usually means that small, country dealers have shorter waiting lists than the larger city dealers.
Lotus gives its dealers a fixed allocation of cars and the dealer matches his list of orders to his allocation and gives you an estimated delivery date based on his calculations. Some times a person pulls out just before or after a car is due to be specified which means a car may be available immediately (assuming you take it as specified) or in about 3 months (the time it takes from specification to delivery).
Some people (including myself) give an earliest date they can afford to take delivery of the car, and the dealer then moves people ordering later than you up the list as cars become available. They effectively leap-frog you on the list. I then changed my mind and asked the delivery date to come forward two months and my dealer kindly moved me back up the list to allow my car to arrive earlier. I was moved back in front of people who put down a deposit after me.
About three months before the car is due to be delivered, you are asked to give the final specification and options. About two weeks before the car is due for delivery, the dealer will give you a chassis number which is your cars number on the production line. Even when it has been built, you don't have to buy and pay for the car but, your deposit is not returnable after specification. The car takes about 10 days to be built and viewing it on the production line is not easily done since it is only on the physical build line for less than two days.
Waiting list times have dropped significantly over 1999 and a six month wait is no longer the norm. You may get a car in a month or so. If you take a car as specified you could even drive it away the next day.
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Copyright © Rob Collingridge 2009 - Last updated 12 Jan 2003