I notice that Lotus has announced that it is to create more than 100 new jobs.
The firm will recruit 45 specialist engineers and 40 manufacturing operatives, along with 18 graduates. That is all very exciting. Mark Pym, group head of human resources at Lotus, said: “Lotus’s successes have always been built on our talented and dedicated workforce, and as we embark on a period of strengthening it’s crucial that we grow our workforce to support this.”
So Lotus may be getting clever clogs graduates to move to Norfolk but what is really missing is one profession that is always overlooked and underated. Sales. Not marketing, not PR, not new media-engagement hipsters, but people who can actually go out there and flog some cars.
Lotus only makes 2000 units a year and it claims to export 85 per cent of them, but really you need to crack the home market and the rest will follow. Now I know in 2011 the company sold just 329 cars, and that fell to 137 in 2012. It is risible really. Product placement in Reds 2 is really not going to work either, although the firm is also making a big thing of that.
It is great that investment is being made at the world’s best-known plastic car company, but what it really needs is people who can sell its cars. If that means a clear out at dealer level then perhaps that is what Lotus needs. Maybe a completely new system, where owners are loaned replacement Lotuses whilst theirs are all taken back to Norfolk to be serviced might be an answer.
I’d spend some money on boutique mini Lotus showrooms, or even mobile pop-up ones. Get Lotuses on the streets again. Get sales people going to where the customers are and proving what great cars they sell.
Lotus needs fresh thinking to take on Porsche, but most of all it needs better sales teams. Then those graduates can make even more impressive cars for them to sell, and then it will get easier for the Hethel firm.
That’s how I would put a rocket up Lotus. What would you do?