UK: DRB-Hicom boss and minister hold 'very constructive' Lotus meeting
The managing director of Lotus owner DRB-Hicom has met UK Business Secretary Vince Cable in London for talks about Lotus. A Department for Business spokesman told just-auto that the talks were “very constructive”.
Malaysia-based DRB-Hicom Group Managing Director Dato’ Sri had earlier this week visited Lotus as part of the company's review and audit of Lotus operations pending a decision on whether to retain or sell the unit.
The spokesman said: “We emphasised the importance of Group Lotus as part of the UK automotive sector and the Norfolk economy and made a strong case for long-term commitment to the UK by pointing out our good track record of attracting inward investment by other global manufacturers”.
He also said DRB-Hicom “understands the value of the Lotus brand and the need for it to be retained in Norfolk”.
The government has put on hold a GBP10m pledge from its regional growth fund to support plans to develop new models and create 1,000 new jobs until the future of the company is determined, but the firm was told ministers were willing to see the deal get back on track.
The Secretary of State said that “we stand ready to reactivate the Regional Growth Fund offer to support their vehicle development plans in Norfolk”.
The spokesman added that the Secretary of State will be writing to Norfolk MPs to update them about the meeting.
Last month DRB-Hicom issued a statement to refute rumours that it had already decided to sell Lotus after acquiring Lotus parent Proton earlier this year. In the statement the company also said that it was sending a senior Proton executive to Lotus in order to 'strengthen its management'.