Plans to built future Lotus models in Malaysia have been abandoned
31 October 2005

LOTUS IS ABANDONING plans to build sports cars in Malaysia, in factories owned by its parent company Proton.

In future, all production will be centred in Hethel near Norwich, where all Lotus models have been built since the mid-’60s.

Lotus never ‘officially’ announced that it would make cars in Malaysia, but moved plant and personnel there over the past year and the plan became an open secret.

Proton factories and technicians were to be used both to make the new alloy-bodied Esprit V8 supercar — the first car to use Lotus’s unique VVA (Variable Vehicle Architecture) — and the forthcoming Europa, the more refined, Vauxhall-engined two-seater GT closely based on the Elise.

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

It is believed that the two cars’ specifications and launch schedules are unaffected by the decision. In fact, several analysts are convinced that the Esprit costs could even benefit from being made in the UK.

The V8 supercar, understood to continue the Esprit name, will cost about £60,000 and is tipped to break cover in two years’ time.

The Europa is certain to be made on one of the two existing Elise/Exige production lines at Hethel, and is likely to be launched early next year.

Our Verdict

Honda Civic

The Honda Civic is an impressive achievement and a worthy rival to the Volkswagen Golf and Ford Focus, but it isn't quite up to class-leading standards

Join the debate


8 April 2013

lotus should always be made in England to sytay true to it's roots. Steroids UK on Facebook



Add your comment

Log in or register to post comments

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

  • First Drive
    21 March 2018
    The new Vantage has been developed as a Porsche 911 beater, and our first taste on UK roads suggests it can live up to that bold claim
  • Nissan Leaf Tekna
    The is the new Nissan Leaf
    First Drive
    21 March 2018
    The new version of the world's best-selling electric car gains a bigger battery and more power. How does it compare to rivals such as the Volkswagen e-Golf?
  • Range Rover p400e
    First Drive
    20 March 2018
    The original luxury SUV is now available as a plug-in hybrid, promising lower emissions and the capacity for silent electric motoring
  • BMW i3s
    Car review
    20 March 2018
    Revised hatchback sets out its range-extended electric stall in a new, sportier tune
  • BMW X2
    This is the new BMW X2
    First Drive
    20 March 2018
    Doesn’t deliver many typical crossover selling points but looks perky, handles keenly and is well capable of winning over your latent cynic