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Lotus plans foreign expansion

Lotus plans expansion abroad Group Lotus is launching a long-term expansion programme to triple production and launch new models.

But the absence of financial support for the loss-making company has prompted it to warn the Department of Trade and Industry that some projects may have to be moved outside Britain to cheaper production centres.

Kim Ogaard-Nielsen, Lotus chief executive, said future projects might not be based in the UK because they could almost certainly be produced more cheaply, with host government support in places such as the US or central or eastern Europe.

‘We thought that the UK government might help; that the DTI might give us some moral support. But we were told that Hethel is not an employment blackspot. So we could be better off going elsewhere.’ Lotus employs 1,100 people at its Norfolk headquarters.

Lotus plans to expand its range to include different size vehicles in almost any configuration of front, rear or four-wheel drive format, based on a new modular aluminium body platform. This will be used as the basis for a new ‘supercar’ to be launched in the first half of 2008 and a larger ‘businessman’s express’ coupe Lotus is to unveil at the Geneva Motor Show in March.



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