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Lotus confident of getting government support

The head of British sports car manufacturer Lotus has said he is confident of getting state support to expand its Norfolk plant.

It is preparing an application to the Regional Growth Fund, which aids projects that create jobs in areas hit by cuts in the public sector.

Lotus chief executive Danny Bahar told the Financial Times he has had "very constructive" discussions with the government, and it looked positive that it understood what Lotus could offer.

Lotus wants to revitalise its Hethel base in preparation to build five new models in a move which, it says, would add 1,000 more jobs to its 1,400-strong Norfolk workforce.

However if UK government assistance is not provided, Lotus promises to move production overseas - it has already spoken with contract manufacturers Magna Steyr and Valmet.

Lotus currently builds about 2,700 cars a year, however the carmaker hasn't made a significant profit for 13 years.

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