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Lotus to create 250 jobs and launch new sports car series
Lotus is set to produce a new series of sports cars, with prototype production of the Lotus Type 131 to commence this year from its facility in Hethel, Norfolk.
The announcement comes as £100m is being invested into Hethel’s facilities, which will also see the previously announced relocation of two Lotus sub-assembly facilities into one efficient central operation in Norwich to support higher volumes.
In addition, 250 new employees will be recruited in engineering and manufacturing roles for both Lotus Cars and Lotus Engineering – which opens its Advanced Technology Centre in Warwick later this year.
Since current shareholders Geely and Etika took ownership of the company in September 2017, around 670 employees have joined the business.
Lotus has also announced that three of its current sports cars – the Elise, Exige and Evora – will enter their final year of production in 2021. The Lotus Elise was first unveiled in 1995, followed by the Exige in 2000, and the Evora arriving in 2008.
Phil Popham, chief executive officer of Lotus Cars, said: “This year will be hugely significant for Lotus with new facilities coming on stream, a new sports car entering production and new levels of efficiency and quality that only a new car design and factory can deliver. Despite the continuing global challenges, Lotus has emerged from 2020 strong and on track in the delivery of our Vision80 business plan.
“As our Vision80 strategy illustrates, Lotus is all about looking forward, and our future is full of continuous innovation. In 2021, however, we will be reflecting on the legacy of our current range, starting with the Elise, a sports car that genuinely revolutionised the automotive industry, not only because it is a legend-in-its-own-lifetime but also for its impact on car design and technology.”
Matt Windle, Lotus’ executive director for engineering, added: “Our renowned team of engineers, designers and technicians who are working on the new cars are acutely aware of the legacy from the Elise, Exige and Evora. Indeed, many were around when Elise was being developed. Members of our team, old and new, are now busy blending the learnings of the past with the innovations of today and tomorrow, to ensure our future cars truly move the game on but remain firmly committed to Lotus values.”
The Elise, Exige and Evora have contributed greatly to the Lotus business over the years, and by the time the last of these models leaves the assembly line, they will have sold a combined circa 55,000 units.
Alongside the new series of sports cars, Lotus will continue to produce its Evija electric hypercar.