Lotus Cars announces 250 new jobs with prototype built in Norfolk

Sports car manufacturer Lotus has announced production of a new prototype which will create 250 jobs.

The firm said it was investing £100m at its headquarters in Hethel, near Norwich.

But three of the company’s models will cease production this year including the Elise, which launched in 1995.

Phil Popham, chief executive of Lotus Cars, said: “Despite the continuing global challenges, Lotus has emerged from 2020 strong and on track.”

It follows last year’s announcement that it was moving some production to a new facility in Norwich from its existing plants in Norwich and Worcester.

The company said the roles would be in engineering and manufacturing for both Lotus Cars and Lotus Engineering which is due to open near Warwick later this year.

Alongside the new prototype – called Type 131 – the company will continue to make the electric Evija model.

Later this year Lotus will stop production of the Exige and Evora models as well as the Elise.

Matt Windle, executive director of engineering at Lotus, said many of the current team of engineers, designers and technicians “were around when Elise was being developed” more than 25 years ago.

The announcement from Lotus came after Japanese car maker Nissan said its Sunderland plant was secure for the long term as a result of the trade deal reached between the UK and the EU.

But last year new car sales fell to their lowest level in nearly three decades, due to factories and showrooms closing down for the first lockdown.