Lotus has given the beleagured British car industry a small shot in the arm by confirming that it will build its replacement for the Esprit at its factory at Hethel in Norfolk.
A release from Lotus this afternoon confirmed that the car - 'positioned at the higher end of the Lotus range' - will enter production in Spring 2008. Rumours had suggested that Lotus's parent company Proton was considering switching production of the new car to Malaysia to cut costs.
The newly-appointed Group Lotus Chief Executive Mike Kimberley said, 'We're very pleased that Hethel has been confirmed by the Board of Directors as the manufacturing location for this vital new car. However the decision to choose Hethel has not been taken lightly and was influenced not only by our past achievements but also by firm future commitments to improve the efficiences and flexibilities within our manufacturing facility.
'We have a lot of work to do between now and the start of production and this will demand much commitment and hard work from us all.'
Little is known about the replacement for the Esprit, but Lotus is said to be evaluating a number of potential engine sources, including BMW V8s.