Business Secretary Vince Cable visits Group Lotus and takes time to put the Evora S to the test at the newly opened race track.
Hot on the heels of the Malaysian Prime Minister’s visit on Saturday (16 July), Secretary of State for Business, Vince Cable took time to visit Group Lotus’ headquarters in Hethel today. During his tour of the facilities, Vince Cable was shown the design and styling studio with the future product line up as well as the current car production lines.
Commenting on his visit to Group Lotus, Dr Vince Cable said: “Lotus is a very successful company, it’s doing very well – exporting a lot – with a lot of ambition. I’ve seen the new models and I believe that this is the best of British industry with very high levels of skill and engineering quality. Through its cars, motorsport and engineering divisions Lotus makes a key contribution to the UK automotive sector and the wider economy through the exports of its iconic cars and its world-class design engineering consultancy.
It wasn’t all hard work and business talk though, undoubtedly the highlight of his visit was a chance to show off his driving skills behind the wheel of an Evora S on Lotus’ Hethel based test track. Speaking about his track time in the Evora S he said: “It was absolutely great, it’s a wonderful car, very manoeuvrable and great fun and of course very fast. When I was a teenager I used to go to aerodromes in Yorkshire where the first generation of Chapman’s Lotus cars competed with Jim Clark at the wheel so this is really a life time ambition I’ve fulfilled here.”
“I welcome the growth and change in Lotus, it’s a vote of confidence in the UK and in their work force, they have very high quality people here doing apprenticeships and they clearly believe in what they’re doing and they make great products so I really wish them well.”
Group Lotus Chief Executive Officer Dany Bahar said: “It’s a pleasure to meet with Dr Cable and his fellow MPs today, the success of automotive industry is very important to the British economy so it’s good to see the support of the British government here.”
Vince Cable was accompanied by fellow MPs Richard Bacon (MP for South Norfolk), Norman Lamb (MP for North Norfolk) and Simon Wright (MP for Norwich South).
The BBC report that CEO Dany Bahar has stated expansion in Hethel could lead to between “600 and 1,200” new jobs at the plant over the next 5 years despite recent ‘right-sizing’ and up to 99 back office staff losing their jobs to redundancy due to low current output levels.
Lotus have applied for £10.4m of funding in the 2nd round of the Regional Development Fund grant giving which will be used to further expand production facilities at the Hethel factory. Lotus plan to up production from current levels of close to 2,500 cars per year to up to 8,000 per year across six models.