Lotus forced to reorganize and may have to eliminate a quarter of its staff
Lotus is reorganizing and expects to lay off 325 people — nearly a quarter of its staff — in an attempt to “reshape its organization and to reduce costs,” the company said in a statement today. Lotus employs 1,215 people around the world, with 1,032 of them in Lotus’ home of Norfolk,. “Regrettably, it is likely that compulsory job losses will be needed to ensure that the company has the right number of people with the right skills.”
Lotus, in essence, “wants to ensure that it has the right organizational structure in place so it can build a strong, sustainable future.”
That future currently includes the Elise, Exige, and the excellent Evora — only the latter is currently sold in America, owing to the expiration of federal crash standard exemptions. (You can get a track-only Elise S Cup R, however.) Lotus teased the idea of the Elise’s return by next year, but that was three long years ago.
Lotus CEO Jean-Marc Gales made an announcement regretting the “potential impact” that this plan might have on the soon-to-be laid-off. Gales has been CEO of Lotus since May of this year, appointed by Malaysian industrial group DRB-Hicom, replacing Dany Bahar and his ambitious, yet tenuous five-car future plans. Gales was in charge of PSA Peugeot-Citroen from 2009 to 2012, when the company introduced and expanded the successful DS line.
Gales has an unenviable job ahead of him. Lotus sold only 292 cars in Europe as of June this year, an increase of 14 percent from the same period in 2013 — the year Group Lotus had a combined loss of nearly $260 million. In 2012, the year Proton sold Lotus, the company lost $187 million.
It’s been a long time since that Paris Motor Show where, with five concept cars seemingly out of the blue, Bahar made the surprise-filled equivalent of a mic drop. That plan, needless to say, has been abandoned. But since Gales joined, he has given credence to the rumors that Lotus might introduce an SUV and a sports sedan along with their three-car lineup. Short of this recent layoff news, everything else has been kept under wraps.
Hopefully Lotus will survive… but they really need more viable products for the US market… and fast!