Tuesday April 19th, 2011 10:22 Lotus loses out on Regional Growth Fund


Lotus has failed in its attempt to secure £27.5 million in funding from the UK government’s Regional Growth Fund. The Norfolk-based sports car manufacturer had hoped to use the loan to expand its production plant in Hethel, and to help build the new range of models that were unveiled last September at the Paris Motor Show. In addition to safeguarding existing jobs, Lotus said that the loan would have resulted in the creation of 1200 “new and sustainable, high-value jobs” at the plant.

In a statement expressing its disappointment at the decision, Lotus said: “Despite the clear synergies between Lotus’s growth plans and the fund’s objectives to enable private sector organisations to invest in projects that would create jobs and secure long-term growth, the bid team decided that the money was better invested elsewhere.”

Prior to the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills’ decision, Lotus had warned that failure to secure the £27.5 million loan from the Regional Growth Fund could lead to production of its new models being shifted overseas. As it stands, Lotus is considering applying to the second round of the Regional Growth Fund’s loan scheme with an updated bid.

While on this occasion Lotus may have been unsuccessful in securing an RGF loan, it was not all bad news for car manufacturers, as Bentley, General Motors, Jaguar Land Rover and Nissan were all successful in their applications for funding. Jaguar Land Rover will receive £70 million in funding from the Regional Growth Fund towards research and development, and this news was welcomed in a statement by Dr Ralph Speth, CEO of Jaguar Land Rover.

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