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.