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Is Lotus about to get £1.5bn investment to rival Porsche and Ferrari?

PUBLISHED: 15:55 10 August 2018 | UPDATED: 15:55 10 August 2018

The Lotus assembly line at the Hethel plant. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

The Lotus assembly line at the Hethel plant. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Archant

The owners of Group Lotus are preparing to pump nearly £1.5bn into building the Norfolk manufacturer into a global sportscar heavyweight, according to reports.

The Lotus factory at Hethel. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYThe Lotus factory at Hethel. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Zhejiang Geely Holdings is considering new production facilities and research centres for Lotus elsewhere in the UK, as well as a significant investment in new staff at its Hethel base, according to financial news service Bloomberg.

It reports that Chinese carmaker Geely is also looking to increase its 51% stake in Lotus from Malaysian partner Etika Automotive.

Lotus has not commented on the speculation, other than to say it is “confident about the future as part of the Geely family”.

The reports suggest a second factory could be built in the West Midlands and add a design and innovation centre in Coventry.

Geely took a majority stake in Lotus in May 2017, vowing to “unleash the full potential” of the marque – the first step of which was the recruitment drive for 300 new engineers revealed in the EDP in January.

It also said that it would produce the next two sports car models from Hethel, and was also developing a four-door sports utility vehicle with the Chinese and American markets in mind. At the time it suggested a manufacturing base in China and another in Europe – but would not reveal its location – as it looked to raise Lotus’s annual sales from around 1,600 vehicles to beyond 10,000 a year.

READ MORE: Lotus unveils plan to create 300 new jobs and design next generation of sportscars in Norfolk

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