A small sigh of relief could be heard from the U.K. auto industry Thursday when Group Lotus announced that its new mid-engined sports car would be built at the company's headquarters in Norfolk, U.K. (shown at right).

The new car replaces Lotus' discontinued high-end Esprit model, and is scheduled to begin production in 2008.

With Vauxhall downsizing its U.K. workforce and TVR shuttering its Blackpool factory amid talks of resuming production at an unspecified overseas location, there was concern that Group Lotus owner, Proton, could mandate production of the new Lotus at its Malaysian facilities.

In announcing the company's decision, newly-named CEO Mike Kimberley remarked that Lotus has made "firm future
commitments [to the Board of Directors] to improve the efficiencies and flexibilities within our manufacturing facility."

[Source: Group Lotus]

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