How the political environment can impact international marketing environment.

Every campaign, product launch or global market initiative has the chance/probability to go wrong. The factors that could pose threat to the launch are countless and while some are predictable and can be controlled, many others cannot. In general, the factors that can be controlled are pertinent to the company and its organization and are called internal factors. Those that cannot be controlled are the external factors, or the environment. Politics is one of the main environmental factors and is in general out of companies’ ambit. When a company launches a product, a campaign or operations in a foreign market, it can be entangled in problems if the launch runs into issues that are political in nature.

Structural influences are determined by elements that are already in place and to a certain extent predictable like active legislation, taxation, trade regulations, international treaties and agreements, the ruling party or government in place until the end of the mandate, etc. Public factors pertain to public identities and sensitivities that are linked to people’s political identity and it can be related to ideology, history, nationalism, even mythology; any element that is constitutive of people’s political identity has the potential to backlash if people feel it is being challenged or disrespected or if it undermines their belief. Public factors are far more volatile in nature and are notoriously difficult to predict. However, in the digital age, they have the potential to be even more disruptive than the structural ones as reactions can be shared and spread online in a matter of minutes and regaining control can be very costly and challenging.

Structural Challenges in Political Environment

An environment could help the decision makers during the early phases of the business strategy, PESTEL or PESTLE, with the addition of the Legal and Environmental factors as they progressively became more important from a business standpoint. These factors are tremendously important and they represent huge hurdles on businesses both domestically and internationally. At the global level, all the factors get importance by every country that is part of the business strategy and are added to the international treaties, conventions, customs and practices. The enterprise can be daunting and a detailed analysis of the environment is an absolute must. Obviously, some factors are more stable and more predictable than others, however there is always a potential for change and a continuous scanning of the political landscape can make a big difference when planning a campaign or an international business expansion.

Several recent examples of rapid and unexpected changes in the political environment that brought considerable uncertainty to global business operations. Ex: Brexit referendum in the UK has significantly increased the risk factors for certain industries and the international operations. Even for companies that weren’t directly affected by these changes, the increase in the uncertainty and risk factors is bound to impact every international business as it affects the overall economic environment and most of all the financial one.

Some of the questions that the PESTEL analysis will help you answer are:

  • In East Asia the instability caused by North Korea’s erratic policies going to affect the mobile phones market? If there is a launch campaign for Samsung’s phones accessories, then will a business have to wait when political stability is restored?
  • Offices in London and international marketing operations based there, what should a business do after Brexit goes into effect? should the business relocate offices to Ireland or to Amsterdam? Which location offers advantages in terms of logistics, taxation incentives, labour laws, etc.
  • How is the current stance of Elon Musk look towards the current administration after Musk is going to affect marketing campaign for solar panels and electrical storage batteries. Will the new administration try to boost the image of traditional fossil fuel industry? Will they offer incentives to fossil fuel industries that could potentially harm products’ popularity and sales?
  • A language service provider with offices in Barcelona, what is the likelihood of Catalunya gaining independence from Spain? If it happens at all, what are the chances of this being a peaceful, smooth transition? Will an independent Catalunya be business friendly or are they likely to increase taxation? Would a business be better off relocating to Prague, Paris, Madrid or Milan?

Through the use of predictive analysis, companies will not only have certainties but also, they will have to reduce the risk factors considerably and then they will have time to develop alternative strategies if the outcome they were hoping for, becomes more or less likely.

Political Constraints of Public

While structural political factors such as elections, referendum, treaty renewals, etc. are very big factors in the business environment, there are other ways in which political issues can impact companies’ marketing operations, and those are the reactions of the people that are linked to their political identities. These factors are even more difficult to analyse and more unpredictable than the structural political factors.

Examples of these are Google’s repeated gaffes over the labelling in Google Maps of territories that are disputed. It has angered or caused protest, boycotts, petitions and open condemnation from Israel, the Palestinians, China, India, Iran, Nicaragua, Turkey and even the forgotten Sahrawis, just to name a few.

The dispute over territory is particularly sensitive as territories are not just demarcated lines on a map, there is an entire social and psychological dimension that links people to territories. This has deep implications on people’s identities and their ties to social and political groups. Feelings of belonging to a territory, of the motherland, the homeland, of entitlement to a specific territory that have fuelled countless conflicts throughout history and are a major motivation for social and political action. Considering that Google Maps are used as reference by the wide majority of websites who want to indicate their location to the user, it is easy to see how Google has a major responsibility to ensure that naming and labelling on the maps are fair and respectful to the people involved. Moreover, disputed territories often acquire an ideological dimension and other groups, states and political parties will choose sides and might act in defence of or solidarity with the offended party. For example, a worldwide backlash against products that have even the slightest association with anti-Semitic groups.

While often the reaction comes from people, other times it comes directly from the government. Google has had several incidents with the Indian government as well as with the Chinese. With India the clash was both over the attribution of Jammu and Kashmir to Pakistan in 2005 and then again in 2010 over Arunachal Pradesh, a disputed territory between India and China next to Bhutan. Google had to modify the map after the official complaint of the Indian government, however, not to offend the Chinese, Google had to initially produce 3 different maps and has since changed to 2 versions of the map. Now, to the Indian user Arunachal Pradesh appears as part of India and to the rest of the world the territory is surrounded by a dotted line that indicates the disputed status. The same goes for Jammu and Kashmir, since India’s official policy is to deny its disputed status, Google Maps India shows the region as part of the Indian territory. See comparison from Google maps below. Now, while the dispute over Jammu and Kashmir is quite complex and extremely sensitive both for India and for Pakistan, Arunachal Pradesh is an area close to Tibet that is a very tiny fraction of territory when compared to the size of India and China, and while it might have had some strategic military value in the age of traditional warfare, in the age of long distance ballistic missiles and extensive air to ground warfare technology it is puzzling that the two countries still cling to that sliver of territory and feel offended if their perceived rights are not acknowledged. This clearly shows how the link between people, identity and territory goes beyond the realm of what we would consider a rational calculation of interest and into the realm of the feelings of group identity and belonging that can react to perceived insensitivity and escalate the reaction to a completely different level.


Comparison created by the author by taking screenshots of the Indian Google Maps site and the US one.

Public backlashes to an insensitive campaign can also happen when there will be no direct territorial or political implication, but the reference will be a cultural element that will come to embody a territorial conflict. For example, when Orange Telecom, a former telecom provider in the UK, wanted to open retail points in Northern Ireland, they were faced with huge problems because of the sensitivities that their name and slogan, “The future’s bright, the future’s Orange”, might evoke in a land where the two sides of the conflict have long associated each other with the colours, orange and green. Orange for the Protestants and particularly the members of the Orange Order, and the green for the Catholics and Unionists. The company was worried about the commercial backlash from the Catholic population, but also about possibly sparking violence in a situation where sectarian violence was sporadic but still very much a reality in the daily political life.

Conclusion

Every product launch or international expansion carries a certain amount of risk that, while it cannot be completely avoided, it can certainly be mitigated by extensive research. While retrieving information is easier than it has ever been, unravelling/discerning authoritative material from misleading information can be tricky. With regards to information on political issues this is even more important since political issues can very easily become partisan issues and view the facts though the powerful lenses of political ideology. Although it is not an easy task to understand the political environment through the PESTEL analysis and building strategic scenarios based on political realities in the markets a company is targeting, but is a fundamental step in creating a solid international marketing and busniess strategy.

References
In relation to the issues faced by Orange in Ulster/Northern Ireland see:

Coca-Cola: Current Marketing Communications Strategy

Coca-Cola was founded by John Styth Pemberton in 1886. Who would have thought then, that Coca-Cola would be the money maker it is today. The company is the world’s leading manufacturer of beverages, operating in more than 200 countries across the world. The company produces more than 500 beverage brands and over 1.06 billion drinks are consumer per day all over the world.

Coca-Cola has always put effort towards maintaining a good customer to company relationship. They want their brand and products to be a part of peoples daily lives, to be some what of a ritual attached to specific or special moments, and they use social media in order to create emotions and feelings of affiliation towards customers. In order to do this, the company uses integrated marketing communications (IMC), which is used to communicate with its target customers/market. This plan is changed and adapted by how the market, society, potential, and product positioning all change.

Currently, the communications that are organized by the firm include: advertising, direct marketing, interactive/ internet marketing, sales promotion, public relations, personal selling, and sponsorship marketing. Advertising is extremely important for this company, this is because its giant customer base is so global. In order to do this successfully and bring abroad new customers, the company uses influential advertising techniques. The slogans used in the Coca-Cola ads are very catchy and relatable, they create a permanent impact on the viewers.

The company uses catchy or “happy” slogans in order to hit the target audience emotionally and encourage them to buy the product.

Mediums of Advertising

As we discussed in the previous paragraphs, Coca-Cola uses advertising to create awareness among the potential customers about their products. The have different mediums of advertising that are displayed around the globe.

  • Print Media: Coca-Cola ads are seen everywhere in various newspapers and magazines around the world.
  • Point of Purchase Advertising: Posters and stickers can be seen displayed in various stores.
  • Television Commercials: This is the most common platform that they use, these ads are better able to reach the maximum number of target audience, more so than the other mediums of advertising.
  • Outdoor Advertising: This includes posting ads on billboards and hoardings. Coca-Cola makes sure that their ads can be seen everywhere you go.

Direct Marketing

Direct marketing can be used in many ways, just like advertising. It does help when the company has partnerships with various theaters, restaurants, and multinational organizations. Below is an example of a Coke commercial that a typical movie theater will show before its feature showing starts.

Also, when a customer orders a drink, the only brand the restaurant offers is made by the company itself. This forces people to buy Cokes brand only. By doing so, the company forces out other competition. When you go to a restaurant and order a Pepsi, sometimes you hear, “is coke ok?”, at that point almost majority of the consumers will say yes. Lastly, the company sponsors various sporting events around the world.

Internet Marketing

The internet is quite possibly the most important way to promote products and services these days. The Coca-Cola company has its own website, which is user-friendly, this is extremely important. The website encourages customer interaction by various features that allow customers to become interactive through various games, contests, shopping, and through a special section of the website that enables consumers to find out how they can help their community. The website even allows consumers to give their feedback on the brand and allows them to even leave suggestions.

Along with individual company websites, social media is the main communication of the modern era. Thanks to the usage of Twitter, Facebook, Youtube, and Instagram, Coke is able to capture the attention of the young audience through this internet advertising.

Personal Selling

Since Coca-Cola is a world wide company, they have representatives around the world. These representatives reach the customers and create awareness among them about a new product or service and sell the products to the customers. These representatives build relationships with the customer, and promote the product to different customers within the regions they work.

There are more marketing communication strategies that the company uses. It is important that a company has a few of them up their sleeve. Coca-Cola is a good example of a company who chooses the proper marketing communications. The company has successfully implemented all its communication strategies. This has actually helped the company in gaining customers and also maintaining a good rapport with the potential customers.

Mastering Global Branding

At this point, we are masters at understanding what global branding truly means; but do we know how to master global branding for our businesses? In order to gain a competitive advantage by differentiating yourself from your competitors, bolster your reputation and retain customers; it is vital to have a strong, clear brand identity. This is especially true when taking your business global. Master these 5 Steps in order to build this brand identity:

Train to Maintain Brand Consistency

Consistency is key, especially when going beyond your country’s borders. Regardless of your business’s location, all marketing materials, brand guidelines, online platforms and office interiors should all be identical. This consistency should also be found beyond just the brand of your company, such as in customer experience and messaging; but should do so while also keeping in mind any cultural differences, standard regulations and customer expectations based on region.  

Develop Customizable Campaigns

Going global requires having to learn as much as possible about the new market and country you will be expanding into. After some research, you must then customize your business to the region, language and culture of your potential customers. This is where the challenge comes in. You must keep your brand consistent, while also customizing it to fulfill customer expectations of each separate market.

Vet All Brand Representatives

In order to secure your brand identity, it is important to hire the right people that can not only portray this identity, while also understanding the local customs of where they are located to tackle potential business problems. For this reason, it would be wise to consider hiring locally as they are already familiar with local culture, norms and laws. By including your senior leadership team in the hiring process, you will also be able to stay true to your brand and corporate values.

Address Issues Immediately

By ignoring any issues that arise, you can expect to see your business face some serious critiques all over social media. With the majority of the population being on social media it is important to address and issue and provide solutions immediately. This requires equipping your teams with the necessary tools and skills to handle complaints that meet your company global standards.

Get to Know the Competition

This goes back to gaining a competitive advantage. Understanding the competitive market within each region will not only give you an upper hand, but might also help you discover some unlikely allies. Consumer preferences are constantly changing, so being prepared to work with competing companies would be a smart proactive move to ensure the future growth of your business.

It is important to find that balance between consistency and customization, while maintaining control over all aspects of your business as it goes global. Follow these steps and your business stands a chance of having a strong brand identity.

Expected Trends in 2019

Social media marketing has become one of the most important marketing channels at this point in time. Its rising popularity is evident, despite the rapidly changing popularity of various platforms and strategies. Because of this, we have decided it is important to dive a bit deeper into how this type of marketing is changing with time. Social media manager and trainer Tereza Litsa has analyzed patterns and strategies from 2018 and subsequently identified 12 social media marketing trends to follow in 2019, which we will take a look at below. 

Image result for social media marketing

Engagement

Engagement now goes beyond suggesting that followers leave a comment, or like or share a post. Instead, platforms such as Facebook are turning to their own algorithms in the push for more engagement by favoring content that prompts consumer involvement. This in turn incentivizes marketers to provide more engaging content for their followers. 

Influencer Marketing

This type of marketing not only includes widely established influencers, which are becoming more and more costly, but now encompasses “the rise of micro-influencers” as well. Micro-influencers often have followers that meet a specific niche, and tapping into those markets can be much more beneficial for small or medium sized brands that cannot afford, say, celebrities with tens of millions of followers.

Social Media for Sales Enablement

According to Mary Meeker’s study of internet trends found here, 55% of consumers who discovered a particular product through social media in 2018 ended up purchasing said product. This shows that social media is now becoming a platform to enable the discovery of new products, and we can expect to see brands capitalize on this in the next year. 

Artificial Intelligence and Customer Service

Expectations about quick response times between brands and their consumers are rising, and artificial intelligence is already starting to help with this. For example, having automated messages for frequent questions can save the company significant amounts of time. This is why brands are likely to continue finding ways for artificial intelligence to improve their customer service. 

Stories

Even though there was a time when 24-hour stories were exclusive to Snapchat, they now appear on several social media platforms, including even LinkedIn. This global trend has over 400 million viewers per day on Instagram alone. In addition, they are fairly simple advertisements to create, they are visually appealing, and they do not require much further editing before being posted. And with so many millions of viewers watching stories on a daily basis, it is smart to assume that at least for 2019, stories are here to stay.

Ending Fake Followers

To increase the legitimacy of social media marketing, platforms such as Instagram are taking steps to eliminate fake followers. This ensures that brands are prompting genuine engagement, which makes brands more inclined to use them for their marketing. 

Messaging

Image result for whatsapp messenger

Messaging apps such as Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp allow for more personalized content, and current trends show increased usage that is expected to continue to grow in the upcoming year. 

Trust

When it comes to privacy concerns, a lack of trust is what has prompted the increased usage of messaging apps mentioned above. As such, social media platforms are working to lessen these concerns and build more trust by being more conscientious of how they are using data collected from their followers. 

Narrowing Focus

With so many social media channels to choose from, brands can (and should) utilize these differences to go after specific audiences, and tailor their content accordingly. 

Ad Spend

Ad spending has shown an increase in recent years, and this is expected to continue throughout 2019. We can expect to see more brands utilizing this method of marketing, particularly on Instagram, as popularity has increased on this platform specifically.  

Videos, Podcasts, and Live Streaming

Video content has become increasingly popular, as it engages consumers and makes them feel more connected to the brands themselves. Because of this, platforms such as Facebook are altering their algorithms to ensure that video posts pop up on news feeds more frequently than written text or still photographs, which means we can expect to see an increase in video advertising.

Image result for instagram story ad

Augmented Reality

As augmented reality gets perfected, brands are using it more and more to engage their customers. Facebook is trying to capitalize on this as much as possible, investing in it heavily and ensuring that the camera can engage in augmented reality through Messenger. 

Website Media Tips for International Marketing Communications

Your export operations must be accompanied by a clear international marketing communications strategy. Below we will discuss various website tools you can use in your strategy. Keep in mind that the use of each of these media must be consistent with your overall business strategy.

Website and Web Marketing

Your Website

Your internet website is an indispensable communication tool for your business when you go online. Your website allows you to present and represent your products and services to the entire world. Within minutes, potential new clients can find you and see what you have to offer. Your website is your catalog, as well as a visiting card for those who would like to know more about your company and what you stand for.

Good versus bad website layout

When you first decide to make your website, it is important to keep in mind the content you want to produce and show to the world. You MUST think about how to distinguish yourself from your other competitors. Your website must provide sufficient information but always in concise, brief, and if possible, something very “lucid”. You want to give preference to photos, drawings and very clear and attractive presentations. Text of 200 lines on a website has little to no chance of being read unless it can somehow be presented as interesting and have specific content for a particular category of users.

Search Engine Optimization and Marketing

A website if meant to be found and hopefully clicked on and read through. Below we discuss a few web marketing tips on how to optimize your ranking on the search engines and directories. This process if actually called Search Engine Optimization or (SEO).

The objective of the search engine is to provide the best possible information that is requested by an internet surfer. If a consumer if searching for a specific product that you have, it is important the search engines knows you are the best fit for that consumer. In order to convince their algorithm that your website meets that objective you should should use headings and text that are relevant to your business and that stand out from other businesses.

It is important to think about making light pages (this means pages with not too much information and not too many documents and photos) because heavy pages are not easy to download and are not catchy to the eye. But also, too light of pages can lead to too little information and less likely a search engine will display your site to the consumer. Make sure to also think about keywords for your pages and optimize each page by using those words in the text. Defining your key words will also play a key role. It would be wise to search your competitors pages and see what they are doing for their websites. Then you can build and see what they aren’t doing and what you can make better for your website.

Search Engine Marketing or (SEM), refers to practice of buying traffic to your website through paid search listings offered by the top search engines. This includes Yahoo!, Google, and Bing. Paid links are actually advertisements that appear on the right side or even the top of a consumers screen when they are carrying out a search on any of those search engines.

SEM links are sold in an auction model. In order to get your site to appear in the top results, the advertiser must place a high bid for a specific keyword. Charges are also based on Pay Per Click or (PPC). This means that every time a consumer clicks on your ad, your bidding amount gets charged to your account. This can be pricey for a new company, but ultimately worth it. If is this an issue, you do have the option to limit your daily budget and you can decide about when your ad appears and you can limit the number of clicks to your ad.

Blogs and Social Media

When scrolling through social media, how often to you see paid displayed ads? Whether you want to see them or not, they are there. Blogs and social media such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, and more, are extremely useful in this day and age. They allow you to provide several interfaces for direct communication with your customers and potential prospects. They are valuable to you because they provide a platform for public communication between multiple users and an enterprise.

Social Media: To promote your brand, use Facebook and Twitter. These sites allow you to post information and engage with your consumers. Publish visuals, videos, ask questions, answers questions, anything that can encourage active participation of your followers. For LinkedIn, you can showcase your company by interfacing with the professional world. This will help you to know about your prospects and partners as well as your employees. It is ALWAYS important to update your social media accounts regularly and respond quickly to both positive and negative posts from the public.

Blogs: Some have discovered that blogs can actually be useful marketing tools as well as excellent ways to learn about their customers. Social media allows for direct communication with individuals, so do blogs. Strong relationships can be created by using blogs. It is again, important to update your blog regularly and respond to the negative and positive posts.

Push vs. Pull Marketing

Push vs. Pull Marketing

What is Push Marketing?

Push marketing is a promotional strategy firms use to drive or ‘push’ their products and services to the customer. Often there is a third-party firm involved to gain exposure. Common sales tactics include; email, social media, direct mail, print and broadcast. Push marketing is more short-term focused and looks for immediate sales.

Example of Push Marketing

In the context of retailing, an example of push marketing can be seen in retail stores that highlight a particular product. The product manufacturers offer sales incentives or discounts to the retail stores for pushing its products onto customers. This method is beneficial for new brands or for established brands that are expanding their products as there is a need for consumer exposure.

What is Pull Marketing?

Pull marketing is a promotional strategy used to get consumers to come to you. Demand is driven or ‘pulled’ by the consumer rather than the vendor. Common sales tactics used for pull marketing include; word-of-mouth, referrals, and advertised sales promotions. Pull marketing is more long-term focused. Firms look to create brand loyalty with the consumer.

Example of Pull Marketing

In the context of retailing, an example of pull marketing is in cosmetics or beauty goods. Initially, the manufacturer advertises the product through various channels. As the advertisement gains traction, retailers pick it up and people begin to purchase the product. Increased demand creates organic, word-of-mouth marketing- resulting in the consumer doing the work for the company.

The Marketing Super Bundle That Will Teach You Everything You Need to Know About Digital Marketing

As we mentioned in our previous posts, digital marketing is a relatively new and progressive channel of marketing. One of the main sources of digital marketing that allows people to access millions of audience members is through email marketing in particular, and MailChimp is offering a way for users to become well versed in this practice. MailChimp’s team has come up with a set of  9 courses, or 57 hours, of instruction to get users well versed in Digital Marketing. The course sheds light on how the different distribution channels can drastically expand users’ marketing skills for their respective businesses. This product in particular emphasises learning “how to build your brand with the world’s largest automated platform.”

One of today’s trends, particularly with younger generations, is convenience. People can turn to the internet for quick information at ease, and they like it this way. MailChimp has recognized this and has remained in line with it, as users are able to learn while in the convenience of their own homes, on their own time.

What’s Included?

This course in particular is quite comprehensive,  diving into many different aspects of digital marketing including:

Facebook Ads

The most important and widespread medium of advertising is through the Facebook platform. It is so important that experts have studied it to a science, and it is now available through this online bundle. In this section, you can learn how to create your own Facebook Ad, and optimize it to create conversations and lower costs, all of which are successful aspects of running a successful digital marketing campaign.

Google Adwords

We all use Google as our primary search engine to find new products or to answer any questions we have, which is why knowing how to use Google and optimize its Adwords is a vital marketing tool. This course will have you set up your own Adwords account from scratch, use keywords to your advantage, and learn how to navigate around the system, ultimately teaching you how to use keywords to strengthen your advertising campaign.

The remaining lessons include a retargeting & remarketing guide, a lesson on building the perfect SEO-optimized wordpress website, the complete SEO & Blacklink Mastery Course, and even a course that deals with Amazon website traffic for marketers and consumers.

As you can see, this course ranges for people who simply want to brush up and learn a few new tricks to people who want to completely dive in to the digital marketing world. MailChimp recognizes how valuable this will be for its users, and is likely anticipating a high demand for product, as it is charging only $37 for the course on store.entrepreneur.com.

Furthermore, they are providing lifetime access and revising content with the changing times, so that skills will remain  up-to-date. Additionally, users will be exposed to specific MailChimp strategies straight from experts. All the while, they are discovering how to optimize content, build email lists, and other necessary email marketing skills. There is also a platform for users to ask questions, to which instructors will respond.

Products like this are increasingly important in this digital age, providing users with a better understanding of how to run a business through key metrics on this platform.

You can find this Super Bundle and more information here.

Driving A British Sports Car in The USA

When posting content online, it often goes to all corners of the globe. With that comes misunderstandings stemming from differences in culture. Many individuals view and judge things from the cultural experiences they have obtained themselves, in their own geographic location.

This can be seen when a British commenter talks about getting better miles per gallon in his car than an American. This can be a confusing topic for both parties involved until they realize that a gallon in the UK is actually a different volume than a gallon in the USA.

A common UK to American comment

Let’s back up, take a broader look and discuss British cars. Some well known manufacturers are: Aston Martin, Land Rover, Bentley, Jaguar, Lotus, MG, Rolls Royce, and McLarern. We are going to focus on Lotus because it is the most out of place car here in America.

The Lotus Elise Navigating Buttonwillow Raceway

The Lotus Elise is a beautiful car when you aren’t standing next to it. When you stand next to it, you realize how small it is. Small cars may be normal in Europe and the UK, but in America we have much larger cars. Many Americans will have trouble fitting inside of the Lotus.

An American struggles to fit in the Lotus

One of the striking differences between the US and the UK is that the UK has better public transportation. This fact alone might make owning a Lotus much more practical in the UK. In Orange County, CA it is common to drive your own vehicle or use ride-sharing apps to get around. This is ok because cost of car ownership is relatively low in the USA compared to other countries.

With how spread out the US is geographically and how inexpensive fuel is, larger and more comfortable cars make more sense to Americans. After spending a couple weeks daily driving the lotus I could not wait until the day I got rid of it. Here are the things I noticed:

-It leaks: when it rains, the water leaks in from the roof

-It creaks: The car rattles so much you can’t tell when you actually have a problem

-American drivers can’t see the car on the road

-Americans like the way it looks

-Americans like driving it but not being passenger

-It is slow compared to similarly priced American cars

-It is light (1970 lbs) and very inexpensive to run

-The Elise was sent over to the US market with only 189hp which poses a slight problem for Americans. Americans like horsepower.. a lot. A large amount of vehicles in America come with a big displacement engines.

The American Dodge Viper came with an 8.0 Liter V10. It returned 8 mpg on the way to the office!

The good news here is that you can bolt on a supercharger and make your Elise much faster or you can simply buy a Lotus from the factory with more power. For example, the Lotus Exige S 240 came with 240hp stock.

Exige S 240 at Buttonwillow Raceway

Instead of power, I focused on reliability on my lotus. The stock oil pan did not have a baffle in it. The stock suspension needed some improvements. I turned to JRZ suspension in the Netherlands to build me a proper coil-over damper. The stock wheel sizes were not appropriate for the US domestic market, so a local aftermarket company produced a custom sized wheel-set for the lotus.

JRZ Dampers for Elise – Imported from the Netherlands

With these improvements, the Elise was able to keep up with the stock corvettes on the race track. The benefit of running the smaller, lighter Elise over a larger, heavier, American car is that the consumable expenses are much lower.

This means that although it may not be the fastest vehicle out on the track, you will spend a lot less money running the car. Gas, brakes, and tire costs will be significantly less than a more typical American sports car. While the Lotus Elise was an enjoyable experience, I obtained much more joy on the day that I sold the car.