Lotus forced to cut working hours
14 February 2006 09:55
Workers at Norfolk car maker Group Lotus are being put on a short term week after a slowdown in demand for the Elise in the United States.
Assembly line workers at the Hethel firm will still be paid a full week’s wages, but required to work fewer hours for 12 weeks.
The hours not worked will be banked and staff will then be required to work longer when demand picks up.
Lotus has about 800 workers in its manufacturing division, but has yet to decide which staff will be affected.
The slowdown, which begins on February 27, will also enable the assembly line to be adjusted to cater for the latest Lotus model, the Europa, which is due to be launched at the Geneva Motor Show at the end of this month.
When Lotus launched the Elise in the US in 2004 the company had a large waiting list, but orders have fallen over the past year.
Lotus spokesman Alistair Florance said: ï¿½We have also been busy stocking our dealers in the US.
ï¿½We now need to scale back what we are producing for a time. The slowdown will allow us to reconfigure the assembly line for the production of the Europa, which begins in about two months’ time.
ï¿½It is a sensible arrangement as our cars are, to an extent, seasonable products with production peaks. As well as the Europa, which we believe will deliver good sales later in the year, we have just been granted the go-ahead to enter the Canadian market and that will mean more sales later in the year.ï¿½
In June 2004 the Evening News reported that demand for the American version of the Elise had led Lotus to create 30 new jobs in Norfolk at the company’s fabrication factory in Vulcan Road, Norwich, and at the Hethel plant.
The car had been launched in the States at the Los Angeles Auto Show in January that year to rave reviews and caused a rush of buyers. At that time the company said it was expecting a demand of 2,000 cars per year.
Cool, hopefully they can finish my seats quicker.