Lotus’s Hethel headquarters is to receive a multi-million-pound renovation as the brand approaches its 70th birthday, with a new customer experience centre, heritage centre and museum all planned for construction.
The renovation is a clear sign of investment by Lotus’s new owner, Geely; the Chinese giant took control of the British brand in mid-2017. Geely plans to invest £1.5 billion in the brand, with a view to pushing Lotus into a league closer to Porsche in terms of production volume and products.
The new buildings have been designed by architects Feilden and Mawson, who previously worked with Lotus on renovating its Classic Team Lotus buildings in 2016.
Hethel is a former WW2 airbase, acquired in 1966 by company founder Colin Chapman. Lotus’s original buildings will also be renovated in the site’s refresh, including Chapman’s former office and the company’s clubhouse, which was originally the airbase control tower.
Most imposing among the new builds, however, is the two-storey customer experience centre, which overlooks the site and is positioned alongside the Hethel test track pit lane. A glass two-floor display area will house the brand’s range for customer viewings and will serve as an on-site specification area for customers.
Lotus boss Feng Qingfeng said: “The progress of these developments at Hethel demonstrates our commitment to Lotus and its bright future. Hethel is rightly the centre of the brand, and what better place for customers, aspiring owners and staff to experience our values? Hethel is, and will always be, the heart of Lotus, and our plans are the next step in readying the site for the next 50 years.”
The plans are revealed as Lotus prepares its 70th birthday celebrations, although the new facilities are unlikely to be open before the end of the year.