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27 September, 2006 - 12:37 By Staff Reporter

Lotus to cut workforce to match capacity with demand

Group Lotus is to shed a sixth of its Norfolk workforce as part of a “five year plan” designed to more closely match capacity with global demand and to minimise overheads. 

Responding to what it describes as a general economic downturn in certain key markets, Lotus has recently reduced production of its Elise and Exige models. 200 jobs will go at the company’s 1200-strong Hethel-based workforce.

CEO Mike Kimberley said: “Like many other carmakers we need to tighten our belts in the short term. It is essential we respond fast to market conditions while we drive forward this exciting long-term plan.

“Our shareholder Proton has been and is very supportive of Group Lotus plc, with strong backing for our realignment plans.” 

A statement issued by the company describes “a bright future with a greatly expanded and extended car model programme and new opportunities for the engineering business on a re-aligned basis.”

Lotus intends to launch two additional new models over the next three years. This is in addition to the new Esprit, which will top the range as the company’s future flagship sports car.

The two additional models will be a new mid-range Lotus set for launch in December 2008 and a Lotus/Proton high-performance model, due in May 2008. The flagship Esprit replacement will be unveiled in December 2009.

The review also highlighted opportunities for growth in the engineering consultancy business, including expansion in new markets, joint ventures and strategic alliances. 

Kimberley said: “We are very pleased to have secured LGIL board approval for a high-level, five-year strategic business plan – the first such approved plan that this company has had in the last six years.

“We have some great opportunities ahead of us and some already underway. It’s a very bright future but we have to work hard to bring all the opportunities to fruition.”

 

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