Lotus is bouncing back from the five-car plan debacle that saw its CEO Dany Bahar dismissed for professional misconduct, and an ambitious plot to launch a Porsche-slaying five-car range go up in smoke without so much a test mule spy shot.
The Norfolk-based outfit has announced today the creation of 103 new jobs to meet rising demand not just for its cars, but the brand’s legendary car set-up skills too. It follows a £100m investment from parent DRB-HICOM earlier in 2013.
Where will the new jobs fit into the Lotus machine?
Forty of the new jobs are ‘manufacturing operatives’ – essentially Hethel headquarter-based production line staff to support rising demand for new Lotus cars. Another 45 specialist engineers will be recruited, along with 18 new graduates. They’ll join the current 1100-strong Lotus workforce stationed across the UK.
Why the need for extra production-line staff?
With the unveiling of the 345bhp Exige S Roadster earlier this summer, Lotus now has a seven-car range – three Elise models, two Exiges, and the Evora and Evora S flagships, and there’s growing international demand for all of them.
The trend is especially strong especially in the Far East, thanks to Lotus’s Malaysian DRB-HICOM owners. Lotus claims 90% of all output is now exported – no bad thing, given the troubled brand’s total 2012 UK sales amounted to 137 cars, while 2013 registrations in the UK to date total 97 cars.
What’s the job of the ‘specialist engineers’?
The new engineers and graduates will be allocated to Lotus Engineering, the brand’s in-house consultancy body which is paid to set up other manufacturer’s cars. Lotus Engineering works on methods to make cars lighter, handle better, integrate more advanced and intuitive electronic driver aid system, and score better efficiency from their models.