Lotus opens new sports car factory in Hethel

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Lotus has officially opened its Chapman Production Centre – a new factory in which the upcoming Emira sports car will be built.

The British firm says it is ‘one of the most advanced low-volume automotive manufacturing facilities in the world’, and comes as part of a £100m investment into the redevelopment of Lotus’ UK operations.

Named after the founder of Lotus, Colin Chapman, the factory in Hethel, Norfolk, was officially opened today by Matt Windle, managing director of Lotus Cars, alongside Clive Chapman – the son of co-founders Colin and Hazel. Several hundred Lotus employees were also in attendance alongside Jane Payton, sister to Clive.

Matt Windle said: “Lotus is transforming from a UK sports car company to a truly global performance car business and brand, and the new Chapman Production Centre is a symbol of us delivering on that ambition.

“We are proud of our past successes and excited about our all-electric future, which was started all those years ago by our founder Colin Chapman, and I am honoured that Clive and Jane could join us to mark this occasion.”

The Chapman Production Centre is where the new Lotus Emira – the brand’s last petrol model – will be manufactured, with capacity to produce 5,000 cars per year. The facility boasts a new automated paint shop that is said to reduce paint usage by 30-40 per cent compared to the previous hand-sprayed process.

(Lotus)
(Lotus)

The buildings where previous Lotus models were produced have been transformed into a sub-assembly facility, where the frames of the Emira are made ahead of full production.

Next to the centre is also a new validation test track, where every Emira produced will be put through its paces, ahead of being delivered to customers.

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