Elio Motors Reservations Hit 10,000

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Rather than making me feel better about the future of American manufacturing and forcing me to question my previously stated position on Elio Motors (in case you missed it, the short version is “not gonna happen”), every new press release out of Elio Motors makes me feel ickier and ickier about everything Elio.

Maybe it’s the constantly up-beat tone of the releases, despite the fact that they still haven’t delivered a single car and that the people who have seen the company’s self-released projections (and can do math) don’t seem to place much faith in them, and is hedging their bets accordingly. Or, maybe it’s the fact that Elio keeps using intentionally misleading terms like “supplier partners” when it refers to companies like Admiral Tool and Cooper Tires, falsely implying that these companies have some sort of special relationship with Elio. For Cooper’s part, they told me that “this partnership is not fundamentally different than other OEM partnerships” and explained that they sell tires to Elio, and they’d sell the same tires to your me at the same price for the same quantity when I inquired about their “partnership status” with Elio in a November 27th email.

It’s also worth noting that Elio’s people don’t respond to my emails at all. The one exception being an email about Gen. Wesley Clark, who they were courting as an investor.

In any event, 10,000 people have sent Elio their hard-earned cash so far. That number has risen sharply in recent months, ever since Elio Motors started offering refundable deposits- although they still give preferential treatment to those “true believers” who opt for non-refundable deposits in the form of additional discounts when if the cars ever get built. I say “if” based on a little math exercise I’d like you to follow along with, below:

  1. Elio had about 6,300 depositors at the end of last year (by their numbers)
  2. If Elio has 10,000 now, that means it’s had 3700 new deposits in about 50 days (10,000 – 6,300 = 3,700)
  3. 3700 / 50 = 74 new signatures per day
  4. Assuming Elio can carry that momentum forward, 74 “sales” x 365 days/year = 27,010 total sales

For those of you with long memories, 27,000 cars is just over a third of the 68,000 cars Elio Motors needs to sell in its first year for its self-released numbers to add up- and it’s only 11% of the 250,000 cars the company claims it will be able to sell, annually. That’s … well, it’s not a good sign for any company, and certainly not one that has 99% of the automotive media on its side, you know?

You know.

For what it’s worth, here’s the Elio Motors press release announcing their 10,000 deposits. Here’s sincerely hoping I’m wrong (it’s happened before), and every one of those 10,000 people gets something for their money.

 

Elio Motors Inc. Hits 10,000 Reservations for Aerodynamic, Enclosed 3-Wheel Vehicle

TROY, Mich. – Elio Motors announced that reservations for its aerodynamic, enclosed 3-wheel vehicle surpassed 10,000. The high level of interest is evidence that consumers are clamoring for an entirely new type of transportation option, according to Paul Elio, Founder and CEO of Elio Motors.

The vehicle, which is slated for production in 2015, will have a sticker price of $6,800.00, will achieve 84 miles per gallon fuel efficiency and is engineered to achieve a 5-star crash test safety rating. The vehicle is perfect for individual commuters looking for an inexpensive and fuel efficient mode of transportation, but who also yearn for a unique expression of their passion for driving.

“We’re not just creating a new vehicle,” Elio said. “We’re creating an entirely new industry segment that appeals to people who want a low-cost, highly efficient mode of transportation, but still want to own a unique vehicle that will turn some heads. The Elio gives people the best of both worlds. The fact that so many people have put their hands up and said ‘I want one’ tells me we’ve uncovered an underserved niche in the transportation industry.”

Elio has identified a number of customer segments that are perfect for the low-price, high-mileage 3-wheel vehicle, including

  • People who have large vehicles for family reasons, but find themselves driving to and from work without any passengers nearly every day;
  • College students who need a low-cost option for getting to and from campus;
  • Vacationers who want a second vehicle for running errands on weekends at the cottage;
  • Environmentalists who want to reduce carbon emissions;
  • People who want to see the United States reduce dependence on foreign oil;
  • Owners of low-mileage “clunkers” who would realize a net gain financially by purchasing one of Elio Motors’ vehicles.

    “It seems like every day we come across someone from a unique customer segment that sees how our vehicle easily fits into their lifestyle,” Elio said. “We see these initial 10,000 hand raisers as a great start in our journey to change how transportation is perceived in the United States. As more people see and hear about this vehicle, we expect reservations to continue to grow exponentially.”

    Reservations can be made at Eliomotors.com and range from $100 to $1,000. A non-refundable reservation provides customers with an additional discount worth 50 percent of the initial deposit (a $1,000 deposit would receive an additional $500 toward the price of a vehicle at the time of purchase). Although refundable deposits can be made, more than 80 percent of customers have opted for the non-refundable reservation, again reinforcing how strongly consumers feel about this vehicle.

    The Elio will come with standard features such as power windows, power door lock, tempered glass, three airbags, and an AM/FM radio. The vehicle will feature an eight gallon tank, which enables drivers to travel more than 670 miles without filling up and a Safety Management System comprised of reinforced roll-cage, Anti-Lock Braking System and 50 percent larger crush zones than a similar vehicle.

    Elio Motors’ supplier partners include Altair, IAV, Comau, NEWTECH 3, Cooper Tires, Irvin, Henkel, Admiral Tool, Technosports Creative, Cooper Standard, Dakkota Lighting Technologies, LLC, Detroit Thermal Systems, Eastern Catalytic, Guardian, Mando Corporation, Kiekert, Lear Corporation, Peterson Spring, Plastics Research Corporation, Superior Roll Forming and Takata.

    About Elio Motors: Founded by car enthusiast Paul Elio in 2008, Elio Motors Inc. represents a revolutionary approach to manufacturing an ultra-high-mileage vehicle. The 3-wheeled Elio will attain a highway mileage rating of more than 80 mpg while providing the comfort of power windows and air conditioning, accompanied by the safety of multiple air bags and an aerodynamic, enclosed vehicle body. Elio’s first manufacturing site will be in Shreveport, La., with plans for the first production vehicle to roll off the assembly line in 2015 and significant production, sales and distribution during the next two years.

Source | Photos: Elio Motors.

 

Jo Borrás

I've been in the auto industry 1997, and write for a number of blogs in the IM network. You can also find me on Twitter, at my Volvo fansite, or chasing my kids around Oak Park, IL.