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14 September 2009

Lotus Invests and Recruits for Growth

Lotus defies economic gloom with a 30% increase in its manufacturing workforce and over £20m earmarked for product investment in 2009/10 to fuel continued growth. This is in addition to the £28m already invested in 2008/09.

First customer deliveries of the new multi-award winning Lotus Evora have already started and there is already a substantial order bank of five months’ production. To cope with this demand, Lotus has recruited 150 additional manufacturing staff (a 30% increase) over the last six months. Planned sales volumes of the Lotus Evora for FY 2009/10 are in excess of 1200 with the production rate reaching 10 cars per day by the end of November 2009. The current production rate of Lotus’ small platform products (Elise, Exige, 2-Eleven and those for third parties) remains stable.

Investment for Lotus Cars will be in future variants of all Lotus products including an automatic gearbox version the Evora for the 2011 model year. Research earmarked by Lotus Engineering includes range extender engines for series hybrids, lightweight vehicle structures, super-efficient internal combustion engines and hybrid and electric vehicles, all areas where Lotus is recognised as being a world leader.

Luke Bennett, director of Lotus Cars, said: “We must be one of the few car companies in the world that is increasing production and recruiting staff to support increased demand for its products. Lotus has not been immune from the effects of the global economic downturn, but fortunately we are better placed than most due to the timely launch of the new Evora.”

Last financial year Lotus increased its sales by 2% to £111m in the face of a challenging market. A major contributor to sales growth was Lotus Engineering, the high tech engineering consultancy, which increased sales by 23% despite the curtailment of new product plans by clients in the automotive sector.

Paul Newsome, Managing Director of Lotus Engineering, said: “I am delighted with our sales growth which stems from developing new markets, growing the existing client base and focussing on green technologies, specifically those that are aimed at reducing CO2 emissions of vehicles. Lotus is unique in the automotive industry, not only as a manufacturer of vehicles both for itself and third parties, but also providing engineering consultancy services to other car companies around the world.”

On 1st of October 2009, Dany T. Bahar joins Group Lotus plc as its new CEO, replacing Michael J. Kimberley, who retired in July. Prior to joining Lotus, Dany held the position of Senior Vice President, Commercial & Brand for Ferrari SpA and before that was the Head of Corporate Projects Business in Red Bull GmbH. Complementing the already strong Lotus management team Dany brings skills, expertise and leadship which will enhance Lotus’ image, brand and reputation as a world class sportscar and engineering company.

Led by a strong management team and supported by investment, Lotus has a robust and strategic business plan, a comprehensive high technology portfolio, a healthy order book for its iconic and award winning sportscars and a growing Engineering business, Lotus is better placed than many to capitalise on the rapidly changing automotive market.