Lotus to double production – Return to MotorsportThu, 26 Nov 2009
Lotus CEO Dany Bahar plans to double production at Hethel and return to Motor Sport
Through all the gloom and doom car makers have reported over the last year and more there has been one shining light which has seemed impervious to the downturn – Lotus. They’ve not only remained profitable but they’ve managed to bring to market a new car – the Lotus Evora – which has not only been pretty well universally praised but has a full order book to boot. Clever trick. But Lotus have big plans going forward.
According to the new Lotus CEO – former Ferrari Exec Dany Bahar - Lotus are working to create a ‘State of the Art’ Sports Car Factory at Hethel in the heart of the Norfolk countryside, and are aiming to double production of Lotus Cars over the next decade, from the current level of around 3,500 to as high as 8,00 a year.
It was clear when Dany Bahar was appointed that Malaysian-owned Lotus were looking for a new, more dynamic future. According to Bahar he is seeking to reclaim the Lotus heritage that saw Lotus as a force on the world stage in the sixties and seventies. He has plans for Lotus to return to Indy Car Racing, Le Mans and GT Racing. He said:
“I strongly believe motorsport to be a big help when you are selling and manufacturing sports cars. It’s the credibility that everyone is looking at – if you are doing reasonably well in motorsport, then you must be doing something right in the road cars, because you’ll be using the same technology.
So yes, motorsport will play a big role in supporting our sales and marketing activities for future road cars. These activities do not emerge in one day – you have to carefully plan and we have a timetable that should reach our point of launching our new products in two years time. If you look at our history, there is no other car company that has won nearly all the most important series in motor racing.
So why shouldn’t we replicate what worked in the past? If we’ve had a big play in the past in Le Mans, Indy Car and GT racing, we should go there again.
As a person, I like challenges and it’s why I decided to join the company. I feel the Lotus brand has a lot of opportunity to offer. There’s plenty of heritage, tradition and past successes.
I believe that in the last 15 to 20 years, the heritage, tradition and strength of brand values have rather decreased. It’s easier to bring a brand back to where it was than to start a brand from scratch.”
In order to make these plans a reality it’s clear that Lotus will have to expand beyond the current range of Exige, and Evora. We already know Lotus are working on the new Lotus Esprit and have the Evora Convertible in the pipeline. We could also see a replacement for the Exige before too long.
Colin Chapman should be smiling on his cloud.
By Cars UK