In July 2020, Lotus Cars announced that its steel fabrication (currently situated at Vulcan Road, Norwich) and lightweight structures (located in Worcester) businesses will be brought together in to one new, larger facility at Hurricane Way in Norwich with the creation of up to 125 new jobs.
The investment from Lotus, which has its headquarters and sports car manufacturing in Hethel, Norfolk, further demonstrates its commitment to the region and to Norwich.
The 12,300 m2 Hurricane Way factory will be converted to a new high tech sub-assembly facility to house manufacturing of the award-winning aluminium extruded and bonded aluminium chassis for the Evora, Exige and Elise Lotus sportscars, along with manufacturing of aluminium components for other global car companies. The facility will also house the steel welding and fabrication of sub-frames, suspension components and other key parts for Lotus cars.
As Lotus Cars’ expansion continues under new ownership since 2017, the company has outgrown existing facilities in Worcester and Norwich, and by moving into one, combined new location, the company will take the opportunity to further upgrade machinery and tooling in readiness for new Lotus sportscars to be launched in the coming years.
David Hewitt, Executive Director of Operations, Lotus Cars said: “By bringing the aluminium chassis and steel sub-assembly manufacturing businesses together into one facility, we can further improve upon efficiencies and productivity for Lotus manufacturing. Being located close to Lotus’ HQ in Hethel, Norfolk where all Lotus cars are assembled, will also benefit the business as we expand further into the future.”
New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership (which works with businesses, local authority partners and education institutions in Norfolk and Suffolk) and Norwich City Council helped secure the move.
Chris Starkie, Chief Executive of New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership, said: “We are delighted to have helped Lotus complete this deal to develop a new production facility in Norwich. It underlines the commitment of this globally-recognised brand to the county with which it is synonymous, and reinforces our region as a centre of excellence in low volume, high-tech manufacturing.
“The New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership will also be supporting a training programme aimed at upskilling existing staff and providing technical apprenticeships, ensuring this region has the skills that are needed in its key sectors.”
Alan Waters, leader of Norwich City Council, said: “Lotus is a truly iconic brand, all over the world. But here in Norwich, and the county as a whole, we’ve long enjoyed a sense of local pride and ownership thanks to the business being based in different parts of the region for many years.
“We’re delighted the company has shown its continued and deepening commitment to Norwich by choosing the Hurricane Way site as a new base for the high-tech manufacturing element of the business.
“The potential of dozens of new jobs in the pipeline also comes at a particularly welcome time as we continue to grapple with the effects of the pandemic. We very much look forward to continuing to work with Lotus as the new facility gets up and running.”
Lotus Lightweight Structures’ current facility in Worcester will be re-purposed by the freeholder and Lotus will relocate from the facility in May 2021. Worcestershire-based staff will be offered the opportunity to continue their roles in Norwich, where the company is recruiting for both the new Hurricane Way facility and Hethel HQ.