Revealing prototype electric hypercars is all well and good, but arguably a more reliable marker of a manufacturer's health is when they start to indulge in the hugely costly business of building new buildings. Now Lotus isn't quite going the whole hog with its new site - the factory in Norwich previously accommodated a boiler making firm - but confirmation that it will convert the existing structure into a new high-tech sub assembly facility for 2021 is very much the next best thing.
Evidently the move is partly about consolidation: Lotus is keen to bring its steel fabrication and lightweight structures businesses under one roof (the first is already located elsewhere in Norwich; the second, somewhat inconveniently, is based in Worcester). But additional investment in the larger factory is also about expansion; Lotus expects to create up to 75 new jobs beyond the ones it will transfer from the existing plants.
David Hewitt, Executive Director of Operations, Lotus Cars said: "By bringing the aluminium chassis and steel sub-assembly manufacturing businesses together into one facility, we can further improve upon efficiencies and productivity for Lotus manufacturing. Being located close to Lotus' HQ in Hethel, Norfolk where all Lotus cars are assembled, will also benefit the business as we expand further into the future."
Specifically the new site will be responsible for the manufacturing of extruded and bonded aluminium chassis which underpins the Evora, Exige and Elise (alongside making aluminium bits for other car makers) and for the fabrication of sub-frames and suspension components together with other steel welding. Moreover, Lotus says it will take the opportunity to 'further upgrade machinery and tooling in readiness for new Lotus sports cars to be launched in the coming years'. Music to our ears.
Lotus has music for your eyes, too, courtesy of 'The Spy Who Loved Me', which premiered 43 years ago this week. Hethel is justly proud of its involvement in the 1977 Bond saga - not just for the obvious advantages of the Esprit's legendary appearance in the film, but also for the way PR boss Don McLauchlan famously engineered its starring role (parking an unmarked prototype outside Pinewood Studios for all the execs to see). To mark the occasion Lotus has artily parked the forthcoming Evija next to an S1 in white '007' spec. Somewhat less significant than a new factory. But prettier.
1 / 2