Lotus is to invest £6m in a new factory at its site in Hethel, Norfolk to bring the Vauxhall 200/Opel Speedster sports car into production.
Vauxhall chairman Nick Reilly announced at the London Motor Show earlier this week that the sports car would be built for Vauxhall/Opel `in limited quantities’ by Lotus.
The car uses a modified Lotus Elise chassis, but a Lotus spokesman said that though the bonded aluminium technology would be the same as the Elise, the chassis geometry and suspension settings would be different.
Vauxhall/Opel has not confirmed how many cars it expects to sell. But the new factory – funded out of Lotus’s cash flow, not by Vauxhall/Opel owner General Motors or Lotus owner Proton – will have a capacity of up to 10,000 a year.
Lotus said this figure would be made up of 3,000 Elises, 3,000 of the new Lotus M250 concept, with the remainder being Esprits and the Vauxhall Speedster.
Lotus also announced a link up with Powertrain Technology of Shoreham, a consultancy specialising in diesel technology, to expand Lotus Engineering’s capability in that field.
* Vauxhall’s Ellesmere Port plant produced a record 115,000 V6 engines in the past year, mainly for export for use in US models.