David Ross, honestjohn.co.uk
Could Lotus be on the up again? The news that the Norfolk-based sports car manufacturer is recruiting for 100 new roles is a hopeful sign that the firm is on an even keel. Along with 18 graduates, Lotus is looking for 45 specialist engineers and 40 manufacturing operatives.
Only months ago, the firm had to deny rumours that it was going into liquidation with reports that it was facing legal action from a number of suppliers over unpaid bills. Lotus was acquired by Malaysian firm DRB-Hicom when the latter bought parent company Proton Holdings in January 2012 – a move which meant a welcome end to the embarrassment of having Lotus badges stuck on Proton cars.
But those rumours were seemingly unfounded and now Lotus is looking to expand. The creation of new jobs is part of a £100 million investment with the aim of developing new products, providng engineering consultancy and focussing on global markets. According to the firm, 90 per cent of its cars are currently exported.
Aslam Farikullah, Chief Operating Officer at Lotus, said, ‘It’s been a period of substantial change at Lotus and we are now in a strong position to expand our work on future products and to increase production in our manufacturing facilities. We want Lotus to be at the forefront of the global automotive industry and for us to remain competitive, we will introduce more exciting products.’
The news will be a welcome relief to Lotus, which over the past few years has suffered a series of embarrassments. There was the 2010 Paris Motor Show where the firm unveiled not one, but five new cars, all with groundbreaking technology, as part of a five year plan. Unsurprisingly, those ambitious plans haven’t made it to fruition, although the manufacturer is still working on one of those cars – the new Esprit – pictured above and below.
And last year, Lotus was involved in a bizarre incident with satirical motoring site Sniff Petrol, with the Lotus PR office issuing a now infamous press release in response to a bit of light hearted Photoshopping. You can see the picture and read the toys-out-the-pram response here. Since then CEO Dany Bahar has been dismissed and is now taking DRB-Hicom to court over unfair dismissal, claiming £6.7m, in a case which will be heard next year.