Lotus has said that it wants to restructure and may shed as many as 325 jobs, over a quarter of the current workforce.

The Norfolk-based company said in a statement that 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. It also said that it intends to redeploy staff wherever possible and will look for ways to retain specific skills and knowledge within the business, despite the proposed cuts.

Jean-Marc Gales, Chief Executive Officer of Group Lotus, said "We understand the concerns that this proposal will create. We deeply regret the potential impact any reshaping of the business may have on our employees and their families.

"We have worked very hard to avoid the need to make the proposal, but do believe that it is now essential. It is in no way a reflection on our employees who have shown nothing but dedication to us and have worked tirelessly to support Lotus."

Lotus will consult with staff and workers' representatives on the proposed changes and on ways and means of avoiding job losses, reducing the number of job losses and mitigating the impact of any changes that are necessary.

Jean-Marc Gales added: "Once the reshaping has been undertaken, and with its strong and experienced management team, Lotus should be a leaner, more competitive organisation, focusing on both producing class-leading sports cars and innovative engineering. We will also build upon the improved sales results seen over the last few months."

Proton-owned Lotus currently employs 1,215 people worldwide of which 1,032 are in eastern England in the county of Norfolk, UK (Hethel HQ and two facilities in the nearby city of Norwich).