When Lotus Cars U.S.A. wanted to determine if there was enough interest in the company's lower-priced mid-engine two-seater Elise, it went to current and wannabe owners via the Internet.
Last month, www.lotuscars.com featured a survey addressing the desires of two-seater sports car aficionados. What do they want in a sports car? What did they like about the flashy red Lotus Elise featured in the survey? Might they buy this beauty if it were available for $35,000 to $40,000?
Lotus customers and others were notified about the survey through a broad mailing, company spokesman Chris Sawyer said. In less than two weeks, 1,340 people had responded to the questions.
Half said they were either likely or very likely to buy the car; 36 percent said they were somewhat likely to buy it; and 13 percent turned thumbs down on a purchase.
What did they like best about the Elise? First was the design, followed by its uniqueness and its overall performance.
Lotus Group, which is based in the United Kingdom, sells only the $86,420 Esprit model in this country. Lotus Cars U.S.A. wants to convince its parent that the 44 Lotus dealers in North America could sell 1,500 of the cheaper Elise models if they were modified for this market.