Norfolk

Geneva Motor Show: Lotus pins profit hopes on Evora 400

The Lotus Evora 400 Image copyright Lotus
Image caption Norfolk-based Lotus shed 240 jobs from its Hethel HQ and recorded multimillion-pound losses last year

Troubled car manufacturer Lotus says it hopes the launch of its latest model will prompt a turnaround in the company's fortunes.

The Norfolk-based firm shed 240 jobs from its Hethel HQ and recorded multimillion-pound losses last year.

But it said the Evora 400, launched at the Geneva Motor Show, and the arrival of 150 new employees would bring an end to a turbulent period.

The new staff members are due to be recruited over the next four months.

CEO Jean-Marc Gales said the company's sales had increased by 60% in the current financial year and it hoped to become profitable again within two years.

'Bumpy ride'

"We always needed specialists but a large-scale manufacturing operation [is needed] to build this car," he said.

"It is a turnaround car for Lotus."

Image caption The Evora 400 is "based on the existing Evora", said CEO Jean-Marc Gales

He said the Evora 400 was "based on the existing Evora, but over two thirds of the pieces are new".

Car industry expert Prof David Bailey told the BBC Lotus had seen "a bumpy ride" over the past few years but the firm should develop new models if it wanted to remain profitable in the long term.

"The had a crazy expansion plan under the previous chief executive [Dany Bahar] who was trying to turn Lotus into a British Ferrari... and that simply fell apart very quickly," he said.

"The new CEO has turned things around, he's cut costs dramatically and he's gone back to the core business which is making attractive lightweight cars and they are getting a lot of publicity about the Evora 400.

"They are clearly on the up."

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