Leather quality: A real answer from Lotus!

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I received a very nice reply today from Lotus UK regarding my query about the quality and durability of the "Nappa" leather. They gave me more information than I hoped for, and I'm very happy to share it with you.

I've highlighted the key pieces of new info.

Good morning Jason,

Thank you for your email and for the query regards to Nappa leather.


Nappa (or Napa) leather is produced with a unique tanning process that was invented in the Napa Valley in California in 1875. It is famous for its softness and durability. Lotus Cars only use full grain Ox hides for the Emira project to add an element of luxury to our sports cars. The leather is split to 1.1-1.4mm depending on the commodity to add lightness and softness overall, but keeping the high performance that is integral in the automotive industry. The Leather is then lightly embossed with a hair cell grain for uniformity. All of our leather is manufactured in Scotland and the raw hides are sourced within a 60 mile radius of the factory in Bridge of Wier.

I hope this helps.

If you do require any further assistance, please do not hesitate to contact us and we will do our utmost to help.

Kind regards,

Jamie
1648041928136.png

LOTUS CUSTOMER CARE
Tel: +44 (0) 330 0948047
Email: [email protected]
GROUP LOTUS Hethel, Norwich, Norfolk, NR14 8EZ, England

Hope this helps someone. It did for me. Fundamental quality should be very high based on their comments, and it should age and patina well with use. It likely will take well to leather conditioning as well, which may add some desirable visual character if done properly.

FYI, 1.1mm to 1.4mm is a nominal range for a "3oz" leather weight, or about 3/64". I do wish they had used a heavier grade of at least 4oz or 5oz, but 3oz should be fine if some care is taken to avoid cuts or abrasions during ingress/egress and loading in bags.

We probably shouldn't expect it to be exceptionally durable at this thickness, but longevity will be easy as long as you don't cut it. Avoid sharp things sticking out of your pockets, make sure your pants and belt don't have rough or sharp bits of any kind (looking at you, post-punk kids), and definitely avoid sliding in over a jacket zipper on the leather. Some jeans have oddly placed rivets on the back... avoid that.

To sum up:
  • Full Grain, ox hide leather
  • Split to 1.1-1.4mm (~3oz leather weight)
  • Lightly embossed with a hair cell grain
  • Made in Scotland by Bridge of Weir Leather
  • Raw hides are sourced locally (Scotland)

Here was my email to them, in case anyone cares about what I asked specifically.
Hi Lotus!

I am an Emira pre-order customer, happily deposited since July 10 of last year. Currently working with my dealer to finalize and submit final order details for a winter delivery here in the US.

I have a quick question regarding the tan Nappa leather specified on the Emira First Edition V6. Can you please share more detail on the actual grade of leather that is being used? Based on the name Nappa it implies very soft Full Grain quality leather but can you confirm whether this is genuine Full Grain leather stock that would patina well over time? I want to know very specifically whether "Nappa" is being used as a marketing term for a bonded leather product, or if it's truly Full Grain natural hide.

I'm also trying to figure out the thickness, whether this is a thinner grade to target softness like a 2oz weight (0.8mm) or if it's a more substantial grade of leather like a 4oz or 5oz weight (2.0mm). The latter tends to be offered as an upgrade from many car manufacturers, such as the Dakota leather optioned on BMW cars. If it's possible to learn this spec it would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks for your help, and congratulations on the start of production!

All the best,
Jason Porter
Alexandria, Virginia, USA (Washington DC area)

Thanks all.
 
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SlavaUkraini

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Nice info, OP! Like you said, as long as you are somewhat careful with that leather it should be okay.
 

virtualmacho

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Definitely tan, as it's least conspicuous for driving naked. "Oh yes officer, I know how this looks, but you see, this is 3oz Nappa leather; very soft but prone to cuts, and I didn't want the rivets in my jeans putting scars and tears in the seats. Officer, you have to believe me, these are the factory installed seats with manufacturer specified materials, not my fault at all!"
But really, looking forward to these quality seats!
 
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Definitely tan, as it's least conspicuous for driving naked. "Oh yes officer, I know how this looks, but you see, this is 3oz Nappa leather; very soft but prone to cuts, and I didn't want the rivets in my jeans putting scars and tears in the seats. Officer, you have to believe me, these are the factory installed seats with manufacturer specified materials, not my fault at all!"
But really, looking forward to these quality seats!
It will be Lululemon yoga pants for all of us, I'm afraid. Prepare to shock and awe with your physique.
 

Nova

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Very nice. Looking forward to experiencing the leather.
 

denk0815

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This conforms to DIN standards for automotive leather, e.g. tensile strength, elongation at break, rub fastness, light fastness, flame resistance.
As far as I know, Mercedes and BMW use 1.0-1.4mm.
 

darkling

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no leather seats for me i will change them. I kinda want Recaro I'm good with hand controls. I just need bolsters to fit my big butt
 

EspritGuy

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Definitely tan, as it's least conspicuous for driving naked. "Oh yes officer, I know how this looks, but you see, this is 3oz Nappa leather; very soft but prone to cuts, and I didn't want the rivets in my jeans putting scars and tears in the seats. Officer, you have to believe me, these are the factory installed seats with manufacturer specified materials, not my fault at all!"
But really, looking forward to these quality seats!
My setup choice: suspension of disbelief.
Another remark: Sorry, officer. Just out enjoying my Scotch.
Nice reply to great OP.
 

VL3X

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Thanks for the info! I assume it's the same nappa leather used on the bolsters and center stripe of the Alcantara seats...?
 
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Thanks for the info! I assume it's the same nappa leather used on the bolsters and center stripe of the Alcantara seats...?
That's my assumption as well but I don't have any specific knowledge.
 

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