Lotus terminates partnerships with several UK retailers

Hethel takes steps to increase the visibility of its retail operations as well as centralise aftersales support and parts supply

Lotus has ended contracts with many franchised dealers in the UK as part a “restructuring of its retail network” to coincide with the launch Emira.

There are concerns that parts for second-hand Lotus models could not be available – a concern already for owners.

Maidstone Sports Cars has posted a message on its forum stating that the following businesses will no longer be authorized Lotus retailers: Hangar 111, Rapid Mechanical Services Romford, SJ Sports Cars Crediton, and others.

This move is part of an effort by Lotus to centralize its aftersales offering. It’s part of a major modernization push for the Norfolk brand, which is now under Geely ownership.

Lotus is currently going through significant changes. After less than three years, Phil Popham was replaced by Matt Windle as CEO. The Hethel headquarters are undergoing an upgrade programme worth multi-millions of pounds and the launch of the first electric car.

Some of Lotus’s smaller dealers will be no longer considered official partners as part of the network restructuring.

Autocar was told by a Lotus representative that deals were reached mutually with many retailers, who were either not in a position to invest in their businesses moving forward or weren’t located in a targeted location for Lotus.

Many smaller businesses are finding it difficult to make the necessary investments in rebranding their forecourts to reflect Lotus’s new corporate image. Lotus has recently shown off its Bahrain-refitted dealership. This is the first time that Lotus’s new logo and badges have been displayed globally.

Lotus wants to increase the visibility of its retail operations by partnering with national dealer groups such as Hendy or FG Barnes to sell sports cars along with more mainstream products in centrally located locations.

Lotus’s website still lists multiple standalone retailers including Lotus Silverstone and Bell & Colvill, both in Surrey, Endeavour Automotive and Colchester. Many of these businesses will continue to be authorised repairers even though they will no longer be listed as retailers.

Autocar was informed by a Lotus representative that the move should not affect UK Lotus owners’ ability to have their cars repaired and maintained.

Autocar obtained a Lotus official statement explaining that the provision of replacement parts was a very important part of their business. This is especially true with the upcoming retirements of Elise, Exige, and Evora.

We have taken a number of new initiatives to strengthen our business. Our Aftersales team has recently been strengthened with dedicated teams whose job it is to maintain parts supply for all models. We have also increased our Evora, Exige, and Elise service technical training. This will be maintained indefinitely.

“In the last two years, our central stockholding has increased by more than 40 percent. We will soon launch an all-new online e-commerce platform that will allow our entire parts catalog to be searchable online by any customer.

“We are currently restructuring the UK’s retail network and approach. This will not affect Lotus owners’ ability to service and maintain cars through the Lotus network.