Lotus launches Hethel factory tours to new customers

Published: 14 October 2014

Lotus this week launched a new Homemade In Hethel experience, letting new customers collect their car from the sports car maker’s Norfolk headquarters in the UK.

It’s similar to the collection facility offered as an option by many German brands, such as Porsche and Mercedes-Benz.

In fact, it's good business sense: you pay Lotus to fetch your own car! Though in fairness, they lay on some treats to tempt customers along for the Norfolk experience.

What you get in the Homemade In Hethel package

There are two packages launched by Lotus for new-car owners buying any Elise, Exige or Evora model. The basic package, which costs £832 plus local taxes, includes a trip to Hethel, refreshments, a factory tour, visit to Classic Team Lotus and a photoshoot of the handover.

This basic Handmade In Hethel trip also includes a Lotus print signed by Clive Chapman, son of Colin, a car cover and a battery trickle charger - useful for a Lotus which may not be used all year round.

Track time options too

Spend an extra £160 and you qualify for the same package but with a track drive alongside a Lotus instructor around the newly fettled Hethel circuit where Lotus develops its cars. The upgraded collection package costs £999 plus taxes.

Group Lotus chief executive Jean-Marc Gales said: ‘Hethel is the heart of Lotus, where we have been designing, developing and building the most exciting and uncompromising handmade British sports cars for nearly 50 years and we are delighted to open our doors to customers so that they can collect their new car from us direct.'

‘It is here at our headquarters that Colin Chapman himself conceived and built the original cars that were lighter, faster and more dynamic to drive and race than anything else. The Hethel experience gives our new, existing and future customers the opportunity to see, hear and feel for themselves the ambition that has been core to Lotus; to build cars that  give you one of the most thrilling, pure driving experiences imaginable.’

Sounds like a bid to restore confidence and interest in the Lotus brand. And good luck on them, we say. Lotus sales are up 28% in the UK in the first nine months of 2014 - to a modest 180 new cars registered year-to-date.

By Tim Pollard

Editorial director of CAR's digital publishing arm. Motoring news magnet

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