Geely Holding’s acquisition of a majority stake in Lotus in 2017 virtually assured the oft-troubled sports car company would survive well into the future, and at some point, some of its cars would be produced in China.
Well, the future is now.
Lotus’s Chinese parent plans to open a $1.3 billion factory in Wuhan that opens up a world of possibilities for the super car producer. The company could build more over-the-top vehicles, i.e. faster and better handling, or it could simple build more, i.e. volume.
However, the new plant could allow Lotus to follow the lead of other super car makers like Lamborghini and Ferrari and build its first-ever sport-utility vehicle.
(Geely readying to plow $1.9 billion into Lotus expansion. Click Here for the story.)
Officials, for now, are simply suggesting the Chinese plant will be used to supplement existing production out of the company’s facility in Hethel, Norfolk, England.
“Lotus and our shareholders are fully committed to manufacturing at Hethel for Lotus sports cars and expanding our headquarters here, with investment in the site starting in earnest in two weeks time,” a Lotus spokesman told Reuters.
(Click Here for details about Lotus and its new approach to growth: practicality.)
Lotus recruited 289 new employees last year and still has another 182 open positions. Geely and Lotus said in a joint statement that while Norfolk was Lotus’s manufacturing home, a key part of the company’s strategy to revive the brand was expanding the brand’s manufacturing footprint globally.
In the meantime, the Hubei province, where Wuhan is located, has approved the plans for the new assembly facility, and officials say the new site will be able to produce 150,000 cars annually. The documents not only revealed how many vehicles it will build, but also type.
(China’s Geely buys controlling stake in Lotus. Click Here for the story.)
Or at least, what it’s cleared for which is full-electric battery cars, electric hybrids as well as combustion engine cars like Lotuses. Job advertisements on Geely’s website show the automaker is looking to fill at least 20 Wuhan-based roles for the Lotus project, according to Reuters.