Lotus to move production to Europe if loan not sanctioned

Dany Bahar, the chief executive of iconic sports car brand Lotus, has warned that the Hethel-based company would move production to Europe in case the government disapproves its application for 40 million pounds loan.

Mr. Bahar said the company was in talks with two overseas automakers, viz. Austria-based Magna Steyr and Finland-based Valmet, and one of the two would take over car making in case company’s loan application was turned down.

Speaking on the topic, he said, “The offer from us is on the table. If they can help us, we will stick to our commitment. If they can’t we will not.”

The sports car company wants to expand its Norfolk facilities to produce 6,000 to 8,000 cars per year to meet increasing demand. The planned increase in production is expected to generate as many as 1,000 jobs. The company wants financial assistance from the government’s 1.4 billion pounds Regional Growth Fund as it will not be able to expand the Hethel facility without it.

Currently, Lotus is producing 2,700 cars at its Hethel facility, where it has a workforce of 1,400 people, in addition to 300 overseas staff.

Mr. Bahar also announced that the company would roll out its first city car in October 2013. The three-door rear wheel drive mini car will run entirely on battery power, with the engine kicking when more power required.