Lotus chief joins chorus of car manufacturers backing remain

Jean-Marc Gales, CEO of Group Lotus plc, during the Lotus press conference at the 2016 Geneva Motors

Jean-Marc Gales, CEO of Group Lotus plc, during the Lotus press conference at the 2016 Geneva Motorshow where four new Lotus cars were presented. - Credit: Archant

The boss of one of Norfolk's most famous luxury brands has given his backing to the campaign to remain in the European Union.

In a boost to the Prime Minister Jean-Marc Gales, the chief executive of Group Lotus, joined a host of car manufacturers in backing the David Cameron's bid to keep Britain in the political and economic alliance of European nations on June 23.

But the remain campaign was dealt a blow when a business chief said Britain could have a 'brighter' economic future outside the European Union if the country was prepared to weather the economic disruption of Brexit.

John Longworth, director-general of the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), said he would like to remain in a reformed EU, but the 28-member bloc had shown itself to be incapable of major change.

But the Lotus Group boss said Europe was the company's biggest market, with 34pc of its products exported within the continent.

Mr Gales said his business, which has operated in Norfolk for 50 years and employs 900 people in Hethel, would not align itself with any political party, it would wish that the UK remained within the EU.

'Should the UK leave the EU, we would not be able to influence the direction of future legislation, nor contribute to initiatives surrounding design, innovation and technology for cars in the future, areas where Lotus has always been very active,' he said.

Most Read

Prime Minister David Cameron said leaving the European Union would put a great Norfolk success story at risk. 'The UK car industry is doing better than ever before. In terms of both exports and job creation, it's a British success story. Across the country, around 150,000 people are employed in the industry directly, including 900 jobs at Lotus in Hethel.'

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter