Dealer asked for ADM to move up list

pcarguy

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Got a call from my dealer saying if I pay a $10k dealer markup, I can move up the list to guarantee a FE V6.

I'm currently 80-ish on the list, and he and I have chatted a few times since my order and I gathered that I probably was not getting one until the base rolls around. I have never owned a Lotus before, have always admired the brand.

I nearly jumped on the offer when he proposed it. But then I realized it raised more questions. Most importantly, I could infer that there would be some poor guy at say 20th on the list that I'd jump in front of. And ok, maybe I'd get a FE V6, but I might run the risk of getting an extended-run (beyond the first 700 in the US maybe?) next year anyways. It put a bad taste in my mouth.

So I declined the offer.

I now wonder if I should have taken it. Heck, its just the nature of the industry right now that money talks, so I probably should not have been surprised. I'm slightly spoiled by having a good relationship with my Porsche dealership that has gotten me 2 allocations at MSRP during COVID. I don't know, but I'd believe they're doing the same maneuvers with new buyers there too.

I'm curious if anyone else has had this offer or is paying ADM for an Emira?
 

TXEMIRA

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This thread will get fun fast. Be ready for some questions.

1. Actual dealer location?
2. Actual person who offered?
3. Your deposit date?
4. Their allocation numbers?
5. Was the $10k just a bribe then or was it a larger deposit?

Just for fun. I don’t want to know the answers but lots of folks will for sure.
 
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pcarguy

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This thread will get fun fast. Be ready for some questions.

1. Actual dealer location?
2. Actual person who offered?
3. Your deposit date?
4. Their allocation numbers?
5. Was the $10k just a bribe then or was it a larger deposit?

Just for fun. I don’t want to know the answers but lots of folks will for sure.
I intentionally did not want to disclose location. But am in the US. I certainly don’t want my dealer figuring out it’s me and I lose the car!

Ditto for #2 / who.

Date - I could check when I get on my PC, but roughly mid-November.

#4 their numbers: I didn’t ask what those were, but when I called him in early Jan, he did say they had about 100 at the time. (EDIT: I misread your point on # of ALLOCATIONS. I don't know how many they got awarded from Lotus. The 100 figure is how many client orders he said they had in early Jan)

#5 bribe - well no, that’s not how I took it at all. And he used the term markup, not just a larger deposit. ADM is pretty typical across the USA right now. In fact I was curious if this was gonna happen. I have to go back to the piece of paper/deposit receipt I have for the “order”. I don’t recall if that was a contract persay, or just a deposit on a yet-to-be-determined price. It was 2,500 $.

So don’t get me wrong, I’m not implying any wrong-doing. I realize in some countries that ADM is not legal/allowed, but it seems to be in the US. I was just blindly assuming I’d get MSRP. And frankly I still will if I wait it out. Just surprised at buying my way up the list.

All of this being said, if anyone from Lotus corporate reads this, I’ll gladly spill the beans on all the details as long as I can still get my car!
 
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Nova

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No doubt there are people who would have jumped at the chance. It would also depend on how the slot opened up. I was always under the impression that if someone on an earlier slot canceled, then the dealer essentially takes over that slot and do whatever they want with it, including offering it at a markup to others. Of course some of the more upstanding dealers simply go to the next guy on the list, but I imagine that's the exception rather than the rule.

It does call into question what's the point of having a list of deposits in the first place. There is really no transparency at the dealers in terms of how many cars they've sold, vs how many people are on the deposit list.
 

TXEMIRA

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Yup. It’s going to get crazy.

For their numbers I meant more “how many are they allocated?” Do you know that figure by chance?

Wherever there is money and people there will be unscrupulous activity.
 

Maverick1

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Luckily ADM is not allowed in Canada.
I could have got a Civic Type-R for list price in Canada, but I know in the States they were paying $5k, $10k even $15k over list when it first came out.
Crazy stuff.
 

cdn_alien

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Well, it may not be illegal, but it is certainly unethical in my eyes. Think of the person who thought he was 3rd on the list, and if a bunch of individuals take the dealer up on the offer, that individual is now 10th on the list without realizing it. This is just pitting one Lotus customer against another all to the benefit of the dealership, and not Lotus Cars.

I wonder where Lotus Cars is in this whole ordering mess. Do they realize what is happening? These dirty tricks may be common with other makes, but I find it sad to see in our beloved Lotus brand.
 

xen

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No doubt there are people who would have jumped at the chance. It would also depend on how the slot opened up. I was always under the impression that if someone on an earlier slot canceled, then the dealer essentially takes over that slot and do whatever they want with it, including offering it at a markup to others. Of course some of the more upstanding dealers simply go to the next guy on the list, but I imagine that's the exception rather than the rule.

It does call into question what's the point of having a list of deposits in the first place. There is really no transparency at the dealers in terms of how many cars they've sold, vs how many people are on the deposit list.
This is a good point. IF a cancelled slot really is the dealers prerogative then they’re well within their rights…welcome to capitalism.
 

eriegz

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Think of the person who thought he was 3rd on the list, and if a bunch of individuals take the dealer up on the offer, that individual is now 10th on the list without realizing it.
Not sure I follow... Wouldn't the person in slot 3 always be the person in slot 3? If spot #20 gives up their place in line, it's not like the dealer offers up their slot for $10k and then moves them to position #1.
 

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Well, it may not be illegal, but it is certainly unethical in my eyes. Think of the person who thought he was 3rd on the list, and if a bunch of individuals take the dealer up on the offer, that individual is now 10th on the list without realizing it. This is just pitting one Lotus customer against another all to the benefit of the dealership, and not Lotus Cars.

I wonder where Lotus Cars is in this whole ordering mess. Do they realize what is happening? These dirty tricks may be common with other makes, but I find it sad to see in our beloved Lotus brand.
Lotus would be very disappointed to hear about this situation. The way things work in the US, generally on car sales regulations and specifically for Lotus and their dealers, make it very hard for Lotus. As discussed in other threads, the dealers are able to do things that Lotus would like to prevent but isn’t always able to stop.

I discussed the US model with Lotus seniors when at the factory in January. They really want to see people being treated properly, but their hands are tied on several aspects.

The significant mismatch between supply and demand is going to tempt some dealers to do this kind of thing. It’s not fair on customers. Many dealers are honouring commitments made last year not to mark up. Sadly you can’t switch to one of these without joining the end of their queue.

My advice to the OP is to report this in confidence to Lotus Cars USA.
 

4GIV8M3

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I will never understand people protecting others who are doing wrong. Personally if I was in your situation I wouldn't even want to do buisness with a dealership like that and I would be shouting from the rooftops about it. I think it's a little selfish to those who have deposits there
 

SloAlfa

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Lotus would be very disappointed to hear about this situation. The way things work in the US, generally on car sales regulations and specifically for Lotus and their dealers, make it very hard for Lotus. As discussed in other threads, the dealers are able to do things that Lotus would like to prevent but isn’t always able to stop.

I discussed the US model with Lotus seniors when at the factory in January. They really want to see people being treated properly, but their hands are tied on several aspects.

The significant mismatch between supply and demand is going to tempt some dealers to do this kind of thing. It’s not fair on customers. Many dealers are honouring commitments made last year not to mark up. Sadly you can’t switch to one of these without joining the end of their queue.

My advice to the OP is to report this in confidence to Lotus Cars USA.
I do want to point out that I have been saying this all along only to be met with criticism that “the lotus dealers are more trustworthy”. The fact is dealers are in this business for a profit and this is not a surprise at all to me. Look at it from their point of view. If they are allocated 20 cars, they make another $200k in pure profit. I also find it hard believe lotus is upset or disappointed, there is plenty they could have done to prevent this.

The fact, Lotus did nothing to help keep track of where customers are in line and left it up to the dealers to keep “lists”. Nobody had visibility to the lists, nor where they actually were. I’m sure we can all provide 100 things lotus could have done to prevent this so to say they are disappointed is rubbish.

What on earth is to gain from turning any dealer in? What is lotus going to do if the person loses their allocation? Build them a special car?

It sucks but this is pretty common in the US. For example, if you order a New G-wagon right now, you pay 100k over sticker and it’s a 2 year wait.

Also, the “communication” from lotus and some people here are all over the place. For example, lotus and insiders such as TomE said that you are guaranteed a FE as long as you order before March. Apparently, that is wrong. The US is getting 700 FEv6 units. This is probably what the dealers are saying and using as leverage to get their extra cash. Yet, another thing that Lotus can fix by just communicating!

Lotus is in the business to sell cars, they did and they are happy. I can assure you they are not disappointed or they could have or would have done something about it. I don’t doubt some people in the company are disappointed, but not lotus as a company.
 

Nova

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I will never understand people protecting others who are doing wrong. Personally if I was in your situation I wouldn't even want to do buisness with a dealership like that and I would be shouting from the rooftops about it. I think it's a little selfish to those who have deposits there
I wouldn't fault people for wanting to protect their own self-interest, which is what's happening here. The guy still wants to purchase a car. There are moral tradeoffs in many decisions we make on a daily basis. This is no different.
 
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pcarguy

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I will never understand people protecting others who are doing wrong. Personally if I was in your situation I wouldn't even want to do buisness with a dealership like that and I would be shouting from the rooftops about it. I think it's a little selfish to those who have deposits there
I suppose walking away is an alternative, but I do want the car. And hence my question if anyone else has been asked. Making up numbers, maybe they only got 20 cars for 2022 and #10 dropped out and he's asking everyone >#21 to buy into it. I didn't ask for that kind of clarity. I do agree though that #21 on the list should then get the car at MSRP.

He did clarify I can stay put in line and get my car at MSRP.

It does smell nefarious though - that he's willing to prioritize an ADM customer, and hence push an earlier order into 2023.

I would add that if there was complete transparency... like I was actually paying the ADM in exchange for an order# / allocation with Lotus corporate, I probably would have bitten. But the offer was just to move up in the opaque "dealer list".

Anyways, it seems like I got my answer: I seem to be the only guy who has gotten this call.
 

TXEMIRA

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I suppose walking away is an alternative, but I do want the car. And hence my question if anyone else has been asked. Making up numbers, maybe they only got 20 cars for 2022 and #10 dropped out and he's asking everyone >#21 to buy into it. I didn't ask for that kind of clarity. I do agree though that #21 on the list should then get the car at MSRP.

He did clarify I can stay put in line and get my car at MSRP.

It does smell nefarious though - that he's willing to prioritize an ADM customer, and hence push an earlier order into 2023.

I would add that if there was complete transparency... like I was actually paying the ADM in exchange for an order# / allocation with Lotus corporate, I probably would have bitten. But the offer was just to move up in the opaque "dealer list".

Anyways, it seems like I got my answer: I seem to be the only guy who has gotten this call.
So far. On this forum. That has shared. That we know of. There will be more.
 

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