Lotus have recently had planning permission approved to expand their production facilities in Hethel according to reports in local paper, The Advertiser. The plans, which will allow modification and expansion of the current production factories could create up to 150 more local jobs due to the increase of capacity at the plant. Lotus also have plans for an 8,500m2 Heritage centre to be based on the site which will showcase the companies 63 year history in both road car manufacture and founder Colin Chapman’s main passion, motor racing.
Lotus, who currently employ almost 2,000 people worldwide are a major source of employment in the local area so this will provide a boost to the local economy. They have recently shown commitment to the 55 acre Hethel site which they have occupied since moving from Cheshunt in 1966 and have completed a multi-million pound upgrade to the test track bringing it up to with FIA standards. The track is now suitable for ‘Exos’ customers to train and drive the $1m T125 in safety, a car which has recently spent time with Nigel Mansell and Jean Alesi in Yas Marina being tuned and honed for performance. With the production of 5 new cars on the horizon and backing from owner Proton, this approval is positive news for the local community and British car industry which in recent years has seen investment dwindle and other established companies fold.
Lotus are also a leader in green automotive technology with a number of other OEM companies expressing interest in it’s ‘Range Extender’ technology and third party engineering accounts for almost a third of the workforce, most of whom are also based in Hethel.
Full details of the plans including illustrations can be found on the local council website here.