Lotus model drives up workforce

Demand for the Lotus Evora has seen the Lotus Group increase its manufacturing workforce by 30 per cent over the last six months.

The company has also earmarked £20m for product investment in 2009/10 to fuel continued growth.

According to the Norfolk-based company, planned sales volumes of the Lotus Evora for 2009/10 are in excess of 1,200 with the production rate reaching 10 cars per day by the end of November 2009.

Investment for Lotus Cars will be focused on future variants of all Lotus products including an automatic gearbox version of the Evora for the 2011 model year. Research planned by Lotus Engineering includes range extender engines for series hybrids, lightweight vehicle structures, super-efficient internal combustion engines and hybrid and electric vehicles.

Luke Bennett, director of Lotus Cars, said: ‘We must be one of the few car companies in the world that is increasing production and recruiting staff to support increased demand for its products.

‘Lotus has not been immune from the effects of the global economic downturn, but fortunately we are better placed than most due to the timely launch of the new Evora.’

Last financial year Lotus increased its sales by two per cent to £111m, thanks largely to Lotus Engineering, the engineering consultancy that increased sales by 23 per cent.

In separate news, Formula One racing’s governing body, the FIA, has awarded the 13th entry in the 2010 FIA Formula One World Championship to the Lotus F1 Team.

A partnership between the Malaysian government and a consortium of Malaysian entrepreneurs, 1Malaysia F1 Team returns the Lotus name as a constructor to F1 for the first time since 1994.

The team will initially be based at Racing Technology Norfolk (RTN), around 10 miles from the Lotus Cars factory.

The team’s future design, R&D, manufacturing and technical centre will be purpose built at Malaysia’s Sepang International Circuit.