One of the leading automotive engineering consultancies in the world is Lotus Engineering. When it comes to things like chassis development and tuning, the firm is second to none.
Lotus Evora 400
Not surprisingly, perhaps, Lotus Engineering’s U.S. facility is located in Ann Arbor, Michigan. For those of you who weren’t fans of Dora the Explorer or aren’t fans of Big Ten football, Ann Arbor is due west of Detroit.
Lotus, of course, is based in Norfolk, UK, and it has three operations: engineering, sales and racing.
Its U.S. sales operation, Lotus Cars USA, is located in Lawrenceville, Georgia. That, geographically speaking is close to Atlanta. But it is also, geographically speaking, miles away from the U.S. hub of automotive development, which is a whole lot closer to Ann Arbor.
While there are regularly reports of auto companies moving operations south—be it to southern states or even below the border with Mexico, Lotus is making a counter move: it is packing up its belongings and heading north.
Explains Jean-Marc Gales, CEO of Group Lotus: “North America, as the largest sports car market in the world, is important for Lotus, both for model sales and for our engineering consultancy business. By having both of our USA organizations located in Michigan, we shall be within the heartland of the USA automotive sector, where the headquarters of some of the most important, influential and significant automotive manufacturers and suppliers are based. This will reaffirm our presence in the North American market, by providing improved customer service, better technical and consultancy support, while ensuring that we have access to a skills base not found anywhere else in the territory. All of this fits with Lotus developing speedily in North America in years to come.”
The extent to which the company develops in the North American market—where it has just 47 dealer outlets—remains to be seen.
But clearly this organizational consolidation is a move in the right direction.