Lotus RGF grant denied

Posted on 15 Apr 2011 by The Manufacturer

Norfolk car manufacturer Lotus has expressed its dismay at missing out on £27.5m worth of funding through the Regional Growth Fund which it would have used to expand its production facilities and invest in R&D.

The famed British maker of the Elise and Espirit models said the money would have helped to create 1,200 jobs in a new production facility at its site at Hethel, near Norwich. It said it may apply again for a chunk of the £950m left in the £1.4bn fund.

A statement from the company read: “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.”

“Lotus’s original bid application was for a £27.5m loan which would have been put to good use in research and development, crucially allowing Group Lotus to release capital previously allocated to R&D to build the new production plant therefore creating approximately 1200 additional jobs.”

Other car manufacturers were successful with their bids through the RGF – a scheme which is designed to help private sector businesses in areas particularly prone to public sector spending cuts to grow.

General Motors bid successfully for cash to rework its van making Luton factory to get it ready for production of the new Vivaro model while grants were also approved for Nissan, Jaguar Land Rover and Bentley Motors.

Announcing the details of the first round of funding on Tuesday, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said the initial £450m will help to create or safeguard 27,000 jobs directly and a further 100,000 in associated supply chains.

The second round – for the remaining £950m – is now open for bids and will close on July 1.