I think that the actual “Lotus position”, as it were, is being fluffed up by the rather more successful manufacturing success stories elsewhere in the country.
So far I think that Lotus has performed woefully; it's sold no more than handfuls of cars recently and struggles to be taken seriously as a first-choice sports car company. You buy one because it’ll be good to drive, but there is more to the ownership proposition than that. You also want a decent dealer network, some faith in the resale value and confidence in the fit and finish. Whereas I get Morgan and why people buy them, I can’t think of a good reason why anyone wouldn’t simply get themselves a Porsche Cayman, Mazda MX-5, Nissan 370Z or a Toyota GT86 instead of any Lotus.
Also, £10m is small fry to a car company. They can blow that on engineering a glovebox lid. To me, it is more about the principle.
If the company was doing well, they wouldn’t need a penny. If the government is going to spend our money on cars then they should be public service vehicles. For instance, a Lotus ambulance would be fun and may save more lives than a standard ambulance.
My position may be naïve, but surely a government’s job is not to interfere. Maybe they would do better to try and create the conditions for business through less regulation and lower taxes.
Now, I have offered to go and straighten Lotus out several times. The commute for me is no more than half hour and I can fit the chief executive’s job around the school run. Surprisingly, I’ve not heard back from them, which is why I’m going to start my own Norfolk-based car company. Already without doing a thing, apart from buying a pencil sharpener and some recycled paper, I’m far more profitable than Lotus ever has been.
So should I get a government grant to expand? Well that would be stupid, wouldn’t it?