Lotus has announced shock plans to lay off 350 workers from a total workforce of just 1500. As Autocar went to press the car maker would only admit a major engineering consultancy job ‘had been postponed indefinitely’ and that other ‘large’ projects had come to an end.
Lotus wouldn’t say what proportion of its engineering arm would be laid off, saying that the cuts would affect all of Lotus apart from manufacturing. ‘There will be a future for Lotus Engineering but in a downsized form,’ said a spokesman, suggesting a limit to its future engineering consultancy work.
However a spokesman denied that the job cull was related to VW’s recent tie-up with Lotus’s Malaysian owner Proton.
A local radio station was suggesting it was General Motors that pulled the plug, unhappy with VW’s growing closeness to Lotus. Lotus has been working on various GM programmes including the new Chevrolet range, the Astra VXR and Subaru projects.
But the VW-Proton connection could have a future. VW is said to want to build an Elise-style car and it may take advantage of Lotus’s suspension and engine development expertise.