Lotus Emira Woes: CARB Certification Delays Frustrate Dealers and Buyers

Lotus Emira Sports Cars (carbuzz.com)

US Operations Hit a Snag as Emissions Certification Holds Back Emira Deliveries

Lotus finds itself in a challenging situation as its US operations encounter delays in delivering the Emira due to a lack of emissions certification from the California Air Resources Board (CARB). According to Automotive News, vehicles are reaching dealerships before obtaining CARB approval, leaving dealers and buyers frustrated over prolonged waiting periods for their mid-engined sports cars.

It remains unclear whether the US-spec Emiras were delivered before certification or if the sports car faced challenges in meeting California’s emissions certification standards. Despite Lotus initiating shipments in July, the company asserted that cars would not be released to dealers until all certifications were completed. Originally slated for customer deliveries in the third quarter of 2023, ongoing certification issues have disrupted these plans.

While some Emiras have been delivered in states adhering to EPA rules, Lotus is concerned about the registration challenges for secondhand models in CARB-regulated states. Consequently, official sales will not commence until the Emira is legal to drive in all 50 states, pending CARB approval following tests and software updates.

CARB spokesperson Lynda Lambert explained that the certification process could take up to 90 days and emphasized that applications for certification are confidential until approved and publicly posted on CARB’s website. The lack of information from Lotus has left both dealers and customers in limbo, with dealers facing increased expenses due to higher interest rates and borrowing costs.

Lotus spokesperson Vanessa Meier acknowledged the situation, stating that final checks are required before moving forward, but no updates are available at this time. Dealers, facing growing inventory and customer impatience, will be reimbursed for increased floorplan expenses, although specifics on how this will be done remain undisclosed.

The Emira has faced a series of challenges, from production delays in 2022 due to supply chain issues, COVID-19, Brexit, and external factors like inflation problems and the Ukraine war. With increased pricing since its launch, the Emira’s initial appeal as an affordable sports car is at risk. As Lotus works to navigate these obstacles, the company hopes to secure CARB certification soon, avoiding potential customer dissatisfaction and maintaining its standing in the competitive sports car market.