Lotus flowers in the East

It appears Lotus are moving the production of their, as yet unrevealed, Espirit replacement to the Proton plant in Malaysia. It's no secret that I'm a huge fan of the Lotus Elise, having test-driven one (an early series one example) from Motorway Sports a couple of years ago. Fortunately the Elise, buoyed by the success of their 'federalised' Toyota engine, is to remain a Norfolk built car. In fact, the plant at Hethel will expand to cope with demand and it is, in part, a result of this that there is no more room to include their new project. Undoubtebly the replacement will be designed and developed on the track and roads around Hethel and, in essence, it will be born of British DNA, even if it was reared in infancy in the far East. I guess we have to be pragmatic and say that the Eastern economies are better placed to produce this car in a lean, efficient way that will ensure the model provides as much value for money as it can. However it is with some regret that we find we are unable, in this country, to provide a home for higher-volume motor manufacturing - even though we do the extreme stuff with celebrated professionalism (Mclaren, Aston Martin, Rolls Royce ... variously designed, engineered and hand crafted in Britain).

For my part, the dream of owning a 111R inches closer day by day and I'm quite sure that, whilst I jealously survey the pristine Type 25 example parked on my walk-home along Neptune Quay in Ipswich each evening, my time will come to enjoy the roads of East Anglia at the wheel of one of its most famous products.

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