The new Lotus Esprit could be built overseas, after it was revealed that the sports car maker has been declined investment from the Government’s £1.4 billion strong Regional Growth Fund (RGF).
In January, Lotus applied for a £27.5 million loan to build a new production plant at its base in Hethel, Norfolk, which would have created 1200 jobs. The money was requested to help Lotus build its new range of models, which were revealed at last September's Paris Motor Show and include a new Esprit and Elan.
However, this round one application was rejected by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS), despite £450 million of funding being allocated to Jaguar Land Rover, Bentley, GM and other companies.
However, Lotus is not giving up the fight. “Following this decision Group Lotus is currently exploring all available options including the possibility of submitting an updated bid for round two of the RGF, which is set to close on July 1”, the company said in a statement.
Without any funding in subsequent rounds of the RGF Lotus may be forced to move some production to Magna Steyr in Austria – where Aston Martin builds the Rapide – or Finnish company Valmet – where Porsche builds the Boxster.
Ultimately however, whether Lotus receives any funding from the RGF or not, its Hethel base is set to remain its R&D and engineering headquarters.