Hot and Important news from Hethel and Group Lotus!

  • New line-up US Launch - LA Auto Show 2010 (11/18/10)
  • The New Lotus - Paris Auto Show 2010 (9/30/10)
  • Roger Becker to Retire from Lotus (2/1/10)
  • Dany Bahar New CEO Group Lotus (9/3/09)
  • Braner New CEO/President at LCU (5/26/06)
  • Kimberley New CEO (5/11/06)
  • Duke Hale Resigns (2/21/06)
  • APX by Lotus Engineering (2/1/06)
  • Lotus Consults on VW GX3! (1/7/06)
  • Lotus Engineering Hot Rod Cobalt! (11/2/05)
  • Lotus Engineering to Open Test Facility in North Carolina (11/1/05)
  • Production to Stay in Hethel (10/31/05)
  • Head of Operations Appointed (9/27/05)
  • Record US Sales! (8/26/05)
  • VW to Buy Proton? (7/29/05)
  • LCU Parts Manager Passes Away (6/30/05)
  • Lotus to Build New Esprit Outside the UK (5/26/05)
  • Lotus Engineering to Design Hybrid (5/12/05)
  • New MarCom Manager at Lotus Cars USA (2/3/05)
  • New Managing Director of Lotus Cars (1/27/05)

  • Roger Becker Retires from Lotus
    Date: February 1, 2010

    Roger Becker

    Roger Becker, Lotus’ Director of Vehicle Engineering is retiring from Group Lotus after a long career of 44 years.

    Roger, 64, joined Lotus in 1966, working on the Elan assembly line at Cheshunt, but his natural driving and engineering skills came to the attention of Lotus founder Colin Chapman and Roger was quickly moved to the vehicle development team where he worked directly with Mike Kimberley (former Lotus CEO) on the Lotus Europa Twin Cam – his first Lotus car development project.

    During his career at Lotus, Roger has been responsible for the development of every Lotus car, including the legendary Esprit, Excel, Elan, Elise, Exige and the new critically acclaimed Lotus Evora. Roger has helped to maintain the philosophies laid down by Colin Chapman and has ensured that the essence and purity of Lotus is instilled in all new Lotus cars. He also has imparted his chassis engineering knowledge and development skills to many of the world’s major automotive manufacturers in support of Lotus’ consultancy engineering business.

    On his retirement, Roger Becker said, “I have had a dream career at Lotus, with the honour of not only working directly for Colin Chapman but also working with some of the finest people in the motor industry. With the Lotus Evora successfully entering the market with unprecedented global adulation, and at 64 years of age, I feel now is the natural time to retire. The Evora has given me my finest hour at Lotus and I leave knowing it will be the foundation of all our next generation cars. The product engineering team will build on this to develop many more award-winning products and I wish them every success for what promises to be a very exciting future for Lotus cars and the Lotus brand.”

    Dany Bahar, CEO of Group Lotus plc said, “On behalf of all the staff at Lotus, I would like to thank Roger for his contribution to Lotus over 44 years and we wish him well in his retirement."


    Lotus Appoints New CEO
    Date: Sept 3, 2009

    Dany Bahar joins Lotus as Chief Executive Officer

    Dany T. Bahar has been appointed as the new CEO of Group Lotus effective 1st October 2009, replacing Michael J. Kimberley, who retired in July.

    Prior to this appointment, Dany Bahar was Senior Vice President, Commercial & Brand for Ferrari SpA where he was responsible for worldwide road car sales and after sales business, overall road car and F1 marketing activities, licensing, and merchandising business.

    Before joining Ferrari SpA, Dany Bahar was the Head of Corporate Projects Business in Red Bull GmbH. He was responsible for the overall corporate project business development, with emphasis on diversifying the business such as setting up their F1 strategy with Red Bull Racing and Scuderia Toro Rosso and the US based Nascar Team operations, acquiring football clubs in Salzburg, New York and Ghana for commercial purposes.

    On his appointment, Dany Bahar said, “I am looking forward to taking on the challenges as CEO of this legendary and iconic company with a peerless motorsport history. Lotus has a worldwide reputation for innovative engineering and superb sportscars that lead the world in efficiency, design and dynamics. With the recent launch of the award-winning Evora, there is proof that Lotus is better placed than many to capitalise on the rapidly changing automotive market. I can’t wait to get my plans underway in October.”

    In welcoming Dany Bahar, Dato’ Mohd Nadzmi Mohd Salleh, the Chairman of Lotus Group, stated “With Dany’s track record in motorsports and Ferrari, we strongly believe that we have found the right CEO to enhance the Lotus image, brand and reputation as a world class sportscar and engineering company. With a strong management team already in place, we are confident this objective can be attained.”

    Dany Bahar, a Swiss National, holds an MBA and is married with two children.


    Group Lotus plc Appoints Robert A. Braner as President and CEO of Lotus Cars USA, Inc.
    Date: May 26, 2006

    Hethel, England - May 26th, 2006 - Group Lotus plc, announced today that Robert A. ("Bob") Braner has been appointed to the position of President and CEO for Lotus Cars USA, Inc., with immediate effect.

    Mike Kimberley, Chairman of LCU and CEO of the parent company Group Lotus said; " I'm delighted to welcome Bob to Lotus; he's both expert and passionate about the business of great driver's cars. He will spearhead the expansion of our dealer franchise and our customer base in North America, as we prepare to launch our new high performance sports car in 2008."

    Bob Braner brings to Lotus over 30 years of retail automotive and distribution experience that culminated in the position of President and CEO of Automobili Lamborghini USA, Inc. He has most recently completed the restructure of Broadleaf Capital Partners, Inc., as its Interim President and CEO. Broadleaf Capital is a publicly traded diversified investment holding company that provides finance and management services to small and medium sized companies with the objective of entering the public market.

    "This is a very exciting and dynamic time for Lotus Cars worldwide," said Braner, "both the Elise and Exige have already made a huge impact in the USA with their sensational driving and ownership experience. I look forward to leading the team here as we work to expand the brand's position, appeal and reach. We are also looking to further enhance the value of the Lotus retail dealer franchise, as we move towards the launch of our new super-sportscar."

    John English, past President and CEO at LCU, who has been with the company throughout the launch of the Elise and Exige said; "Lotus is an inspirational brand with thought-provoking products and a proud heritage of many performance innovations. In 2005 Lotus Cars USA had record car sales with over 2400 new customers finding out for themselves what makes the Lotus brand very special in comparison to other sports cars. I am very pleased to have played a major role in the success of the Elise and the launch of the Exige. It has been exciting and gratifying for me to know that new Lotus owners have a great deal of satisfaction and enjoyment with their cars."

    Mike Kimberley further stated: "I would like to thank John English for his contribution to Lotus to date. He is a very skilled automotive professional and under his leadership we have seen the brand grow over the last 2 years. We very much appreciate his dedication, commitment and contributions to Lotus."


    New Acting CEO at Group Lotus
    Date: May 11, 2006

    Group Lotus Plc announced today a change in the senior management of the company

    With immediate effect, Mr. Michael J Kimberley ("Mike") will take over as Acting Chief Executive Officer of Group Lotus Plc. Mike currently chairs the Executive Committee of Lotus Group International Limited (LGIL).

    Given his vast experience and expertise in the automotive industry, Mike is a natural choice to manage the company and he will be supported by the existing management team at the Company and will continue to draw upon the support of the shareholder, Proton Holdings Berhad (PROTON), the ultimate holding company. His priorities will include improving the overall performance of Lotus as well as preparing and strengthening the specialist car company and high-technology engineering and consulting company to compete in a wider market and on a broader business base globally.

    Proton strongly believes that Lotus has a critical role to play in the Proton Group to enable it to become a successful automotive engineering and manufacturing group and a prominent brand globally. Hence, Proton will continue to provide strong support to Lotus and its group of companies. In view of the above, Proton has set up a special team to provide close and specialist support to Mike and the management at Group Lotus Plc, to address the key opportunities for Lotus for the future.

    Kim Ogaard-Nielsen, former CEO of Group Lotus Plc, has stepped down to pursue his other entrepreneurial interests. Kim joined Group Lotus Plc in November 2004 and has presided over a number of projects during the past eighteen months. Lotus would like to record its thanks to him for his service to the company during this period.

    Speaking from Lotus headquarters at Hethel today, Mike Kimberley said, “All specialist sports car companies operate in volatile and highly competitive markets. However, sales of the Elise are moving ahead in the USA and are being further enhanced by the new introduction of the Exige model. I can assure our customers, business partners and all who watch this iconic marque with interest, that Lotus is a highly valued and integral part of the Proton Group.”

    Michael J Kimberley's background:
    Mike Kimberley has been associated with the LOTUS brand for over 22 years, since joining its founder, the late Colin Chapman in 1969. He worked his way up the Company, was appointed as the Managing Director of Lotus Cars Ltd. between 1976 until 1983 and became the CEO of Group Lotus Plc between 1983 until the end of 1991.

    Mike is a well-respected veteran of the automotive industry, having spent over 30 years with various world- renowned automotive companies including General Motors, Jaguar and Automobili Lamborghini SPA.


    Duke Hale Resigns From Lotus Holdings
    Date: February 21, 2006

    Dale Jewett - Automotive News

    DETROIT -- Duke Hale has resigned as CEO of Lotus Holdings Inc. after two years of heading the British automaker's North American operations.

    Hale, 56, said Tuesday that he tendered his resignation on Monday, Feb. 20. The reason, he said, was to avoid any conflicts with a new job opportunity.

    Hale would not give details of the potential new job. He said it is related to the auto industry and "it should be apparent in a couple of weeks what I'm going to do next."

    His job at Lotus put Hale in charge of the automaker's North American sales operations, in Atlanta, and its engineering group, in Ann Arbor, Mich. Lotus headquarters is in Hethel, England.

    During Hale's tenure, Lotus launched sales of the Elise roadster in the United States, prompted dealers to upgrade their stores and restarted sales in Canada. The automaker is launching the Exige, a race-tuned coupe variant of the Elise, in North America.

    Lotus says its sold about 2,400 cars in the United States in 2005, up 242.9 percent from about 700 cars sold in 2004. Lotus reports its U.S. sales on an annual basis, spokesman Colin Price said.

    Hale said Lotus' U.S. operations made record sales and profits for its most recent fiscal year, but he did not give details.

    Hale joined Lotus in January 2004. His resume includes stints as COO of American Isuzu Motors and executive posts at Mazda North America Operations.

    Hale said he did not expect to his position at Lotus to be filled, adding, "After all that we've done over the past couple of years, with both the sales arm and the engineering arm, there's really no need for me there."


    APX by Lotus Engineering
    Date: February 1, 2006

    The next step in niche vehicle development

    In March 2005, Lotus Engineering revealed the VVA (Versatile Vehicle Architecture) understructure, now in March at the Geneva Motor Show Lotus Engineering will unveil the APX!

    The APX is built upon the VVA designed chassis and is elegantly styled by Lotus Design and powered by the new Lotus engineered 3.0l V6 300bhp NEF engine. The APX will demonstrate the how VVA's innovative technology will enable OEMs worldwide to produce exciting products using the innovative architecture.

    VVA exploits Lotus Engineering's expertise in aluminium, steel and composite body engineering, joining techniques, and vehicle systems integration. By building on the commonality and versatility of key elements of the vehicle structure and spreading the development, investment and bill of materials cost across a range of applications, VVA offers a fast-to-market, cost-effective approach to differentiated niche products.

    Lotus Engineering will be at the Geneva Motor Show on Feb 28-Mar 1, 2006 at Stand 1255 in Halls 1&2.


    Lotus Consults to Build VW GX3
    Date: January 7, 2006

    Lotus Consulted to Build VW GX3

    The three-wheeled GX3, driven through the crowds to its launch at the Volkswagen stand at the Los Angeles Auto Show, is a "crossover between sports car and motorcycle", says Volkswagen, representing "pure affordable performance."

    Developed by VW's design team in California, it's not just a wacky show car - not only is the prototype fully-functioning, Volkswagen has indicated a clear plan for sales and marketing of this model.

    Vital statistics for the GX3 are impressive: acceleration 0-60mph in 5.7 seconds, yet urban fuel consumption of 46mpg. It is fitted with a 125bhp version of Volkswagen's 1.6-litre petrol engine, which drives the single rear wheel via a chain and six-speed transmission, and is built around a steel spaceframe chassis construction; its panels are fibreglass and it weighs just 570kg. This example is finished with LED lights, anodized black and gold suspension components, forward-leaning roll hoops and a racing-style cockpit with five-point harnesses. Yet it can carry two people, and still have an 80-litre boot. And if it were to go into production, it would be priced from "less than $17,000".

    While small-scale European manufacturers such as Grinnall and Vandenbrink have produced high-performance three-wheelers acclaimed by enthusiasts, and there are numerous motorbike-based kit cars on a similar theme, it could be the first three-wheeler to be offered on a full-production scale from one of the world's major carmakers. US websites are already reporting that Volkswagen has lined up potential partners to work on production of the GX3, with Lotus named as one collaborator. Assembly would take place in the US, and sales could start as soon as next year.

    Both Swift Engineering in Southern California and Lotus were involved in the design and build of the GX3 prototype shown at the 2006 Los Angeles Auto Show.


    Cobalt SS Is Ready For Encore Performance
    Date: November 5, 2005

    Lotus Engineering adds extra power to Chevrolet's latest 4-cylinder performance car

    Led by GM Performance Division and Chevrolet, with help from Lotus Engineering among others, a new contender burst onto the scene this summer in the increasingly popular Time Attack competitions - the Chevrolet Cobalt SS Supercharged. Driven by John Heinricy in the Unlimited Class, the FWD Cobalt SS Supercharged beat the fastest times of the legendary AWD Nissan Skyline by seven seconds in Street Tuner Challenge's Time Attack event on July 21.

    Now with some further modifications and added nitrous boost, the Cobalt SS Supercharged looks to make an even bigger splash on Tuesday, Nov. 8 in a return to California's Buttonwillow Raceway Park for the PRIMEDIA Time Attack, where it will seek to record the fastest time in the Unlimited Class as well as overall.

    Working in partnership with GM Performance Division and other specialists, Lotus Engineering provided calibration and engineering expertise to help maximize the performance potential of the base supercharged 2.0L ECOTEC engine in the Cobalt SS. In race-ready trim, the nitrous oxide boosted engine delivers an impressive 344 horsepower and 350 lb.-ft. of torque.

    Tim Holland, director of Powertrain Engineering at Lotus' USA office in Michigan, commented: "Handling the calibration aspect of the supercharged 2.0-liter ECOTEC engine was a very rewarding job. Lotus Engineering had already been involved in the development of the standard production engine; therefore being given the chance to make it even more powerful was fantastic. By adding nitrous oxide the engine can now deliver a conservative 344 horsepower in short bursts. I can't wait to see the race for myself on November 8."

    Time Attack racing has been popular in Japan for some time, and finally made its way to America in 2003. Taking cues from the Japanese competitions, Time Attack races feature street-based cars on ordinary street tires trying to complete the fastest flying lap time possible on a given track.

    Those looking to catch a glimpse of the Time Attack Cobalt SS Supercharged before the Nov. 8 race can catch the car on display Nov. 1-4 in the General Motors stand at the Speciality Equipment Manufacturers Association (SEMA) Show in Las Vegas.


    North Carolina and Lotus Engineering to Design Advanced Vehicle Research Center
    Date: November 1, 2005

    New proving ground in North Carolina provides industry with advanced testing capabilities

    Testing Expo, Novi, Michigan, (October 26, 2005) - Today AVRC and Lotus Engineering announced that they have partnered to design the Advanced Vehicle Research Center (AVRC) automotive proving grounds in North Carolina. Located on I-95 in Northampton County, AVRC will feature a high-speed track, ride and handling track, vehicle dynamics area(s), advanced emissions laboratory, hydrogen and alternative fuel refuelling stations, client offices and workshop areas.

    "As a leader in vehicle development, Lotus Engineering has the experience and knowledge to design a test facility with unique capabilities," said Don Graunstadt, CEO, Lotus Engineering Inc. "We look forward to providing a resource to the industry that will assist in the further development and validation of advanced technologies."

    The state of North Carolina has an impressive background in technology development through its strong education system and initiatives such as the Research Triangle Park near Raleigh, N.C. To further its commitment, the state has allocated funding for start-up and development of the AVRC with additional funding from other institutions and the federal government.

    "North Carolina has long been recognized for leadership in information technology, pharmaceuticals, and medical research" said Dick Dell, Executive Director of the AVRC, "Supported by pre-eminent universities in North Carolina and in partnership with the automotive and transportation industry, we will build a world-class testing and development center. "

    The 630-acre facility will be independently operated with engineering support available on-site through Lotus Engineering. The first stage of the AVRC is expected to be operational and available to industry clients and partners in late 2006.

    "As energy issues continue to be a challenge in the U.S., advanced powertrain research and development are vital to the future of the automotive industry," said Don Graunstadt. "Having a facility like AVRC to test technologies such as clean diesel, hydrogen and hybrid-electric systems in a year-round use environment will be crucial in overcoming these challenges."


    Production to Remain in Hethel
    Date: October 31, 2005

    According to AutoCar magazine -

    Lotus is abandoning plans to build sports cars in Malaysia. In future, all production will be centred in Hethel.

    While there have not been any official announcement to make cars in Malaysia, Lotus had moved plant and personnel there over the past year and the plan became public. Proton factories and technicians were to be used both to make the new alloy-bodied Esprit V8 supercar and likely the forthcoming Vauxhall engined Europa.

    Now Lotus and Proton technicians are now dismantling Lotus jigs and fixtures for shipping back to the UK.

    It's unlikely that the launch of either car will be affected by the decision. Several analysts believe that Esprit costs could benefit from being made in the UK.


    New Head of Commercial Operations
    Date: September 27, 2005


    Trevor Houghton-Berry appointed as Lotus Cars Head of Commercial Operations Lotus Cars, the sportscar division of Group Lotus plc, announces the appointment of Mr. Trevor Houghton-Berry as Lotus Cars Head of Commercial Operations effective from 10 October 2005.

    In the newly created role, Mr. Houghton-Berry will have overall responsibility for the Sales and Marketing activities for Lotus Cars in all the territories around the world where the brand is present.

    Trevor is a British national and has extensive sales, marketing and management experience in the automotive industry, firstly with Citroen UK, and Mazda Cars UK and then with BMW (GB) Ltd, where he held the position of Rover Group Corporate Sales Director, before joining the Board of Directors of BMW (GB) Ltd. as General Manager - Mini UK in the summer of 2000. Whilst at Mini UK, Trevor had principal managerial and operational responsibility for the new Mini from a year before its successful launch, leading the team responsible for the car’s strategy, brand management, product and price positioning, and sales and marketing approach across the UK.

    Following the successful launch of Mini, Trevor has spent the last 9 months as Group Head of Marketing for LVG Ltd., a company that has successfully established itself as the leading provider of Driving Instructor Training across the UK. Clive Dopson, Managing Director for Lotus Cars, said, “I would like to welcome Trevor to Lotus. His experience in all key commercial areas of the car business will be extremely valuable to Lotus. Over the next few years, we will be launching a number of new products to the marketplace, including a new GT type car in the next few months and a new mid-engine supercar that will go into production at the end of 2007; and Trevor will lead the team that will introduce these future models.“

    Trevor is very excited about his new role at Lotus: “It’s great to be joining the team at Lotus and I’m very much looking forward to having the opportunity to work with another famous and iconic British automotive brand. Lotus is one of the finest sportscar companies in the world and I’m really looking forward to helping the team develop the car sales organisation. We will be introducing the brand to new markets, growing the smaller markets and strengthening the mature markets. Over the next few months for example, we intend to launch into the Middle East, Canada and other key markets in Europe and Asia. Growing the penetration of the Lotus brand will be vital, as we prepare to launch a raft of stunning new models over the next few years”

    Mr. Houghton-Berry (44) is a graduate from Durham University and holds a Diploma in Management Studies. He is married and has one child.


    LOTUS Celebrates Record Year in U.S.
    Date: August 26, 2005

    Strong demand for Elise roadster and dealer expansion confirm North American resurgence

    DULUTH, GA (August 26, 2005) Lotus Cars USA, North American distributor of Lotus sports cars, has set a new one-year sales record with the Elise roadster, firmly re-establishing the British car maker as the pure sports car brand in the U.S. market.

    The first U.S. Elise was delivered in July of last year and through July of this year 2385 cars have been delivered. After being introduced at the 2004 Los Angeles Auto Show, orders for the lightweight, 190-horse power sports car quickly exceeded expectations and remained strong throughout the first year of sales, establishing the Elise as the most successful model in Lotus' 57-year history.

    To meet demand, and to prepare for future models, the company has been expanding its dealer network in new markets around the country. There are currently 45 U.S. Lotus dealers with new locations recently added in Cleveland, OH; Richmond, VA; and Raleigh, NC. Locations are also planned for Las Vegas, NV and Sacramento, CA.

    "Lotus is back" said John English, president and CEO of Lotus Cars USA. "We couldn't have done it without the support of our dealers and the enthusiasm of our customers, and we owe them great thanks." English added, "The Elise is true to the Lotus philosophy of 'performance through light weight' and our sales show that American enthusiasts appreciate its pure sports car character. We look forward to expanding our model line-up in the coming years and continuing the momentum that the Elise has established."


    Volkswagen Reported in Talks With Proton
    Date: July 29, 2005 - Associated Press

    KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia -- Shares of Malaysian national car maker Proton jumped as much as 8 percent Friday on speculation that Germany's Volkswagen AG will take control of the struggling automaker.

    Khazanah Nasional Bhd., the government's investment arm that owns 42.7 percent of Proton, is in talks with the Wolfsburg, Germany-based automaker to sell up to 30 percent of the Malaysian company, according to a person familiar with the talks.

    "The deal could be worth 10 ringgit a share," or $2.67, the person said on condition of anonymity due to the sensitive nature of the deal. At that price, the stake will cost VW some 1.65 billion Malaysian ringgit ($440 million).

    The deal could come with management control of Proton, the person said.

    Khazanah confirmed that discussions were being held on Proton's "proposed alliance with Volkswagen" but said it "does not have any plans at this point to divest all or part of its existing stake in Proton."

    However, it said it is seeking ways to enhance shareholder value.

    VW officials said Friday they were in talks about their cooperation and work with Proton and future plans, but were far away from any concrete solutions or decisions. They would not comment on the reports about a 30 percent stake.

    Proton's domestic market share has drop from 57 percent in 1993 to around 30 percent in June as the government lifted protective tariffs on foreign-made cars due to a regional free trade agreement. The duties had earlier kept the prices of foreign cars artificially high, making Proton the only affordable cars for most Malaysians.

    South Korea's Hyundai Motor Co. and Japan's Nissan Motor Co. have also chipped away at Proton's business by introducing locally assembled models at competitive prices.

    Investors bid up Proton's stock on hopes that Volkswagen would help the company's ailing fortunes. Proton shares surged as high as 8.1 percent to 10 ringgit when the market opened Friday before falling back to 9.25 ringgit, up 1.1 percent from Thursday.

    It wasn't immediately clear how a deal might be structured, but it is likely that Khazanah may want to retain a "golden share" in the company. Such shares, common in state-linked companies, give the government veto powers over key strategic decisions.

    The possible equity sale followed Monday's removal of embattled chief executive Mahaleel Ariff, who has been at odds for months with Proton's board of directors over strategic issues such as the prospect of giving up majority control to a multinational manufacturer to counter foreign competition.


    LCU Parts Manager Passes Away
    Date: June 30, 2005

    Joe Zodorozny, Lotus Cars USA Parts Manager Passes Away

    Joe Zodorozny, Parts Manager for Lotus Cars USA passed away suddenly while away on a LCU business trip early Wednesday June 29th.

    Joe had been the Parts Manager since 1999. Joe was alway there for the dealers and Lotus enthusiasts, often going to the Nth degree to get a part to someone. He was a gentleman and a pleasure to know. He will be dearly missed by all.

    Joe is survived by his wife Heidi and daughter Ashley, who recently graduated high school.

    The GGLC's thoughts and prayers are with them in this time of loss.


    New Esprit to Built Outside the UK

    Date: 26 May 2005

    Fears over Norfolk manufacturer Lotus' future in the county were raised today after the firm announced production of its new sportscar is to be moved abroad.

    In an unprecedented move, the prestige car firm confirmed that up to a third of its future car production will be carried out oversees. Until now the Hethel-based company, set up in 1966, has only built cars in the UK.

    While the company reassured workers that no jobs would be lost as a result, the announcement provoked concern that Lotus' long-term future in the region hangs in the balance.

    Chief executive officer Kim Oggaard-Nielsen said the company was committed to at least 10 more years at Hethel.

    Today's news is expected to mean the replacement for the Esprit will be built at an existing Proton plant in Malaysia. The last Esprit rolled of Hethel production lines last year and its replacement had widely been expected to be produced in Norfolk.

    Mr Oggaard-Nielsen said: “This is about expansion and where that expanded capacity should be located. We, as with many other vehicle manufacturers, will pick the most suitable location for future capacity expansion.

    “Financial considerations mean that this will most likely be in a facility that already exists within the Group Proton portfolio.”

    A spokesman added that expanding the Hethel plant was not financially viable.

    Mr Oggaard-Nielsen said the company's minimum 10-year commitment to manufacturing at Hethel may be extended.

    But he added: “From a business planning perspective it's just not possible to predict any further."

    “There is no suggestion that current production would be relocated anywhere.

    “This is not the start of relocating the whole company; this is a very common occurrence in the auto industry. If anything, Lotus is one of the last companies to expand production beyond its established home.”

    He said no further details of the Esprit replacement could be disclosed but promised “the new supercar will be a fantastic product”.

    Production of the Lotus Elise will stay at Hethel and the factory is expected to from making 5000 to 8000 cars.


    Turbo Genset Inc.: Understanding with Lotus Engineering

    Distribution Source : CCNMatthews
    Date : Thursday - May 12, 2005

    CALGARY, ALBERTA--(CCNMatthews - May 12, 2005) - Turbo Genset is pleased to announce today that it has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Lotus Engineering for the design and supply of a prototype passenger vehicle hybrid electrical drive system. The system will be an integral part of the hybrid electrical vehicle programme of a major motor vehicle manufacturer.

    Hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs) are powered by a combination of electric motors (and associated power electronic drives) and diesel or gasoline engines. HEVs expand the range of electric cars by offering an option to use the thermal engine at higher speeds. Use of the thermal engine facilitates charging of the batteries.

    The initial development project phase will take approximately 12-18 months and involves the design and supply of the motor and motor drive system to be incorporated into two prototype vehicles.

    This agreement underlines the progress of the TGC high-speed electrical machines and drives business, and strengthens our position in this exciting area of technology.

    About Turbo Genset
    Turbo Genset develops innovative products for power generation and power conditioning. The Group was established in 1993 as a spin-off from Imperial College, London and was floated on the London stock ex change in July 2000 and soon after obtained a secondary listing in Toronto.

    In July 2001, the Group acquired Intelligent Power Systems Limited (I-Power) specialising in power electronics.


    Colin Price Appointed Manager, Marketing & Communications for Lotus Cars USA

    DULUTH, GA (February 3, 2005) – Lotus Cars USA, importer and distributor of British made Lotus sports cars, has appointed Colin Price to the new position of Manager, Marketing and Communications, effective immediately. Price will report to Mark O’Shaughnessy, Director of Sales and Marketing.

    Price has worked within the automotive-related industry his entire career. Most recently, he served eight years with Saab Cars USA in Norcross, Georgia in several marketing, public relations and strategic planning management positions. As Product Communications Manager, Price directed the media introduction of the popular Saab 9-3 Convertible. Prior to that, he served as Interactive Marketing Manager, developing the award-winning 9-3 Sport Sedan launch campaign.

    Prior to Saab, Price spent six years at Yokohama Tire Corporation, where he served as Regional Marketing Manager for the Southeast Region in Atlanta, Georgia. A passionate car and motorsports enthusiast, Price began his automotive career in the showroom of Lynch Porsche Audi in Chicago, Illinois and has raced everything from go karts to SCCA Showroom Stocks to Formula Renaults.

    “Joining the Lotus Cars USA team is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to return to my sports car roots with one of the world’s best-known pure performance brands,” said Price. “It’s going to be a fast-paced ride and I’m looking forward to introducing new generations of sports car enthusiasts to Lotus’ unique heritage and especially to the award-winning Lotus Elise.”


    New Managing Director for Lotus Cars

    27 January 2005

    The Board of Directors of Lotus Cars Ltd is pleased to announce the appointment of Clive Dopson as Managing Director of its sports car division. Clive has held the position of Manufacturing Director since 2000 and will take on the new role of Managing Director overseeing both the manufacturing and the commercial sides of the business. The appointment is effective immediately and is part of a restructuring process at Lotus.

    Kim Ogaard-Nielsen, Chief Executive Officer for Group Lotus explains the appointment: “Clive has done a superb job as Manufacturing Director since 2000, both increasing the production volumes to the current record levels and ensuring that the finished cars are built to the highest quality ever to come out of Hethel. Clive, in his new role of Managing Director, is the right person to lead the business forward.”

    Clive Dopson is looking forward to the additional responsibility: “We are currently building nearly 5000 cars a year but in the next few years we will be increasing this figure with the addition of a new range of vehicles including a new mid-engine supercar. I am proud of what we have achieved so far but we have much more work to do to prepare the market for the next generation of Lotus cars.”