It’s not all doom and gloom in the British car industry this month; Lotus has just announced that it will hire 200 new engineers as it seeks to expand with Geely’s backing. Increasing the workforce is an essential part of the firm’s new growth plans, which include the opening of a new satellite facility in the Midlands, and the launch of its Type 130 electric hypercar.
Geely’s purchase of the brand in 2017 has already triggered the recruitment of 289 staff, pushing the number of employees over the 1,000 mark, but the next emphasis is on boosting production numbers to 5,000 cars a year, which will mean growing the engineering team. Such bullishness is, of course, to be encouraged: who doesn’t want to see Lotus back, fit and firing?
A spokesperson for the firm was keen to stress to PH that the workforce expansion will place jobs at both of its UK sites - emphasising the importance of Hethel at the heart of the operation - but the new Warwickshire operation will certainly have a role in engineering future models. Lotus is expected to replace its ageing Elise in the next decade, with new versions of its higher ranking sports cars likely to follow using shared components.
It goes without saying we can expect engine downsizing and the integration of electrified power in more than just that top £1 million EV model. But if the process keeps one of Britain’s most innovative sports car manufacturers alive and kick during turbulent times, then that can only be a good thing - and who better to turn a low volume EV into a driver’s car than Lotus?