Up to 325 jobs at risk at Norfolk sports car manufacturer under a restructuring proposal put forward by company chief Jean-Marc Gales
18 September 2014

Group Lotus’s workforce could be cut by a quarter under restructuring proposals announced by new chief executive Jean-Marc Gales.

Ex-PSA Peugeot Citroën president Gales has remained so far silent on his plans for the company since he was appointed by DRB-HICOM, the Malaysian owner of Lotus’s parent firm Proton.

Gales has been assessing the Lotus business, and has today announced that up to 325 jobs could go at the firm under the restructuring. Group Lotus employs 1215 people worldwide, 1032 of which are in its home county of Norfolk.

According to a Lotus statement, the restructuring is “the result of the need both to reshape its organisation and to reduce costs”.

The statement added: “The company wants to ensure that it has the right organisational structure in place to achieve its business goals and to build a strong, sustainable future. Regrettably, it is likely that compulsory job losses will be needed to ensure that the company has the right number of people with the right skills.

“Group Lotus intends to redeploy staff wherever possible and will look for ways to retain specific skills and knowledge within the business, despite the proposed cuts. It also proposes to recruit into key roles, to help achieve the best possible structure and skill base.

“Group Lotus will now consult with staff and workers’ representatives on the  proposed changes and on ways and means of avoiding job losses, reducing the number of job losses and mitigating the impact of any changes that are necessary.”

Gales said: “We understand the concerns that this proposal will create. We deeply regret the potential impact any reshaping of the business may have on our employees and their families.

“We have worked very hard to avoid the need to make the proposal, but do believe that it is now essential. It is in no way a reflection on our employees who have shown nothing but dedication to us and have worked tirelessly to support Lotus.

“Once the reshaping has been undertaken, and with its strong and experienced management team, Lotus should be a leaner, more competitive organisation, focusing on both producing class-leading sports cars and innovative engineering. We will also build upon the improved sales results seen over the last few months.”

Last month a Malaysian news website reported that Gales was planning to develop a Lotus saloon and SUV to compliment its existing sports car, a strategy akin to Porsche, but he is yet to go public himself on any plans he has for Lotus’s future products.

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18 September 2014

Wonder what happened to the £11 million that good old Vince gave them to secure employment in Norfolk only about six months ago ?

18 September 2014

Gales is the best news Lotus fans have had for, oh, probably since Chapman lost interest/died/whatever. A proper industry professional who will take his time to come up with a real business plan. Must be the last chance saloon for this great brand. DB's proposals to be a me-too Porsche/Ferrari were always pie-in-the-sky.
There has to be a place for another Alfa 4C style product with this pedigree. Although I have to say I've never actually seen a 4C so I could be talking nonsense just because, as long as it had some luggage space (are you listening Jaguar?) I'd be in the market.
If you look at what McLaren has achieved in a short time by deliberately not being Ferrari I'm sure M. Gales can come up with a cunning plan.

jer

18 September 2014

Why not take them over as another development centre? in terms of the road cars they need to address then cost price issue. A basic Elise needs to be closer to MX5 money, work back from there.

18 September 2014
jer wrote:

Why not take them over as another development centre? in terms of the road cars they need to address then cost price issue. A basic Elise needs to be closer to MX5 money, work back from there.

I agree, they need to be taken over by a parent company who have the funds available to restructure the whole business and start again, I dont think JLR could do it, but Ford might be able to, after all the majority of its ex-PAG brands are now in the best shape in their histories.

Ford did a lot better with Landrover, Jaguar, Aston Martin and Volvo than BMW managed to do with Rover.

18 September 2014
Citytiger wrote:

Ford did a lot better with Landrover, Jaguar, Aston Martin and Volvo than BMW managed to do with Rover.

Wrong, under Tata JLR has done better than ever because funds were provided. Under Ford, JLR, Aston and even Volvo would have just died off. Your statement is rubbish I'm sorry to say.

18 September 2014
manicm wrote:
Citytiger wrote:

Ford did a lot better with Landrover, Jaguar, Aston Martin and Volvo than BMW managed to do with Rover.

Wrong, under Tata JLR has done better than ever because funds were provided. Under Ford, JLR, Aston and even Volvo would have just died off. Your statement is rubbish I'm sorry to say.

What, Ford invested heavily in all the brands, and then when they had to sell them, they found them new owners who had the money and the vision to carry on investing, Lotus used to belong to GM, that went well, Saab used to belong to GM, that went well, Rover belonged to BMW, that went well. See the difference here the PAG brands are all still alive and well, mostly still heavily reliant on Ford parts, however they are all registering record profits.

18 September 2014

love or loathe him, Dany Bahar had a plan, the new management are headless chickens. Cutting a quarter of a tiny workforce cannot foster any new development - this is as clear as daylight. Lotus R.I.P. you will be missed.

18 September 2014

An unworkable plan is worse than no plan at all.
At least with no plan, you are not throwing money away on the unachievable

18 September 2014
brian245 wrote:

An unworkable plan is worse than no plan at all.
At least with no plan, you are not throwing money away on the unachievable

And they're cutting jobs, and 'restructuring' to what end? What goal? As I said, headless chickens, cart before the horse etc etc. The new management do not have a clue as to what to do with Lotus. If they are indeed producing a saloon or SUV then this simply doesn't make sense. Lotus also seem to have given up on a Proton co-developed supermini. This situation seems remarkably like the GM-Saab one. And that's no good.

18 September 2014

So they want to produce an SUV or a saloon car but also want to cut a quarter of the workforce? Now that makes no sense whatsoever. Sounds too me like Lotus is dead in the water and will be closed sooner rather than later and certain parts of the company will be incorporated into Proton (engines and suspension patents amongst others)

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