It’s been over 18 months since the House of Commons last spoke about injecting cash into Lotus Cars, but today Business Secretary, Vince Cable MP visited Lotus’ Norfolk headquarters to award the company £10.44 million to use in developing a new range of products and hiring more staff.
The investment will go towards creating 313 new full time jobs to support an increase in production, and follows 130 new jobs which the company announced in July 2013.
Since DRB-HICOM took ownership of Lotus’ parent, Proton Holdings, it has invested £100 million in enhancing the quality, efficiency and productivity of its car making business, but there’s still a long way to go however before Lotus can be considered a thriving and profitably business again.
Lotus sold just 10 cars in the UK during September 2013 (down 41 per cent on 2012) and 28 cars in October 2013 (an increase of 1,300 per cent), which although a fraction of the sales delivered in its heyday, represents a 38 per cent rise in UK deliveries for the year-to-date.
Lotus argue that more than 50% of production ends up overseas and it’s taken nearly 2 years to rebuild the business after the gluttonous period under the leadership of former CEO, Dany Bahar.
It’s nevertheless good to see more jobs being created, but the company remains without a CEO, or a visible product plan from which to rebuild people’s confidence in the brand. DRB-HICOM remain committed to overseeing its recovery, although is reluctant to put a timescale on when such a turnaround will be.
“This grant is part of a wider strategy for Lotus created to ensure we thrive and grow,” said Aslam Farikullah, Chief Operating Officer at Lotus. “We are responding to increased global demand for our cars and engineering consultancy services and this grant will help to position Lotus at the forefront of global automotive innovation.”
“We have very exciting plans for our sports cars and it’s a very positive move for Lotus that we’re in a position to create new jobs and to significantly contribute to Britain’s automotive industry.”
“The team here at Lotus have worked very hard to secure this grant and every employee is playing their part in the stability, growth and future success of our company.”
Business Secretary Vince Cable said: “Lotus is an iconic British car maker, with some of the most innovative engineers in the business.”
“I am pleased to announce today that our flagship economic plan to create jobs outside of London – the regional growth fund – is awarding Lotus a £10 million grant which will help them develop their next generation of cars and create over 300 new jobs in East Anglia.”