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David Cameron monitoring Lotus 'very closely' over fears it will leave UK

19 Apr 2012

David Cameron says he is "very closely" monitoring Lotus amid growing fears the new owner of the sports car maker could move production abroad.

Malaysian conglomerate DRB-Hicom Berhad is reviewing the future of Norfolk-based Lotus after acquiring its parent company Proton earlier this year.

The Prime Minister said he had spoken to his Malaysian counterpart about the car company after local MP Richard Bacon warned during Prime Minister's Questions oN Wednesday that 1,200 UK jobs are at risk.

Mr Cameron said: "I raised this issue with the Malaysian Prime Minister and with the new Malaysian owners of Lotus's parent company. Lotus makes a key contribution to the UK automotive sector. The sector is doing well and I want to see Lotus succeed and to have a secure future. We are in contact with the company, monitoring the situation very closely and ensuring that it knows about the regional growth fund money that is available."

Proton acquired Lotus in 1996 but the British company has failed to make a profit. Despite attempts to revitalise the brand through hiring executives such as Dany Bahar from Ferrari, pre-tax losses in the year to March 2011 more than doubled year-on-year to £26.1m.

Local politicians fear that Lotus could now be sold to a Far Eastern investor that will move production of the sports cars out of the UK. Mr Bahar, chief executive of Lotus, said moving the factory "doesn't economically make sense".

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(Article taken from The Telegraph - www.telegraph.co.uk)


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