Lotus Cuts 325 Jobs
British sports car manufacturer, Lotus, has announced plans to cut 325 jobs from its global workforce. It doesn’t sound like a very large number, but considering that that is more than a quarter of its global employees, it is certainly a seismic shake-up. Most of Lotus’ 1,215 employees are based in the Norfolk area, where the company is headquartered. A 45-day “consultation period” with the staff has commenced.
The Group reported a loss of £159 million in the end of the fiscal year that ended in March 2013 – almost 40% more than the loss reported the year prior. The news of the restructuring comes after the Group posted the best sales in three years; in July, the automaker sold 226 cars, a 65% increase compared to last year. Still, the company’s well-reviewed sports cars, lauded for excellent handling and includes the long-running Elise, do not match rivals, like Porsche, in terms of finesse. Lotus cars lack range and novelty, with its latest car model being the Lotus Evora which was launched eons ago in 2008. In other words, venerated but outmoded, while other iconic British car marques like Aston Martin, Bentley and Rolls-Royce have been keeping up with the times.
Four years ago, the then CEO, Dany Bahar, announced a grand plan to rebrand Group Lotus and, at the Paris Auto Show, introduced five new concepts which deviated from the company’s trademark light weight approach; until the Malaysian owner, Proton, gave him and his ideas the boot that very same year.
Lotus’ current CEO, Jean-Marc Gales, was only appointed in May this year. The former head of brands of PSA/Peugeot-Citroen said in a statement, “Once the reshaping has been undertaken, and with its strong and experienced management team, Lotus should be a leaner, more competitive organisation.”
There have been whispers that Gales plans to introduce a saloon and SUV to the Lotus line-up, deviating from its all-sports car offerings, which is the same strategy that Porsche took with the Panamera and Cayenne. The Cayenne went on to become the German marque’s best-selling vehicle, making up half of the total vehicle sales last year. Unlike Bahar, though, Gales is decidedly reticent about his future plans for the company.