Lotus has started work on its upcoming Emira sports car as the firm’s investment in UK facilities hits a £100 million milestone.
Two new production halls at the firm’s home in Norfolk have been built as part of the investment, with the first now in pre-production for the upcoming Emira sports car and the second having completed prototype production of the Evija electric hypercar.
The Lotus Advanced Performance Centre at Hethel has also benefited from a new automated paint shop, a retail design studio and a new on-site restaurant. It follows on from investment to the on-site test track as well as updates to the engineering workshops to support electric vehicle development.
David Hewitt, executive director, operations, Lotus, said: “The move to a part-robotised production is the right one for Lotus as we launch the Emira. Everything is about repeatability and efficiency to drive quality. Our workforce is incredibly skilled, and robots help them to deliver the consistency we need at the volume we need it.
“Our cars will remain ‘Handmade in Hethel’, though our people will be supported by new processes and technologies that will only enhance efficiency and build quality. It is a ‘best of both worlds’ solution.”
Though the workforce at Lotus’ Hethel and Norwich sites has doubled since October 2017, the firm is creating more than 200 new operations roles.
Extra investment has been made at Lotus’ other sites within the UK, including those in Norwich and the Midlands as part of the firm’s partnership with the University of Warwick.