Published: Sat, January 19, 2019
Markets | By Otis Pena

Lotus Cars to Be Built in China, Report Says

Lotus Cars to Be Built in China, Report Says

Frankly, if the successful launch of a Chinese-built luxury SUV cements the status of the designers and engineers at Hethel, and bankrolls their ability to make interesting and exciting sports cars - as it does at Porsche - we're all for the increased scale offered to it by space on the production line at a shiny new facility in Wuhan city.

While unconfirmed, Reuters' report is the first evidence of a major shakeup for Lotus since Geely bought a majority stake in the brand in 2017.

Geely and Lotus said in a joint statement that while Norfolk was Lotus's manufacturing home, a key part of the firm's strategy to revive the brand was expanding the brand's manufacturing footprint globally.

As reported by Autocar a year ago, Geely is planning a £1.5 billion investment in Lotus, with the aim of diversifying its line-up.

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Geely gets approval for new plant in Wuhan. Geely is required to do this to better compete with global brands, Kang suggested. The Chinese government gave Geely permission to build electric cars, gasoline-electric hybrid models, and non-electrified vehicles in the plant.

According to a Reuters report, the facility in Wuhan would provide an opportunity for the Norfolk-based sports auto manufacturer to build SUVs as part of its expansion under Geely ownership.

Just recently, the planning authority of Hubei province (capital is Wuhan) approved of Geely's plans for the plant - the factory will reportedly be able to manufacture 150,000 cars annually, according to a document posted on the authority's website.

Geely is rumored to be ready to grow the Lotus brand, giving the Evora a crossover sibling or two. A move to China will mark the first time that Lotus cars have been made in the country. James Bond famously drove a Lotus Esprit in 1977's The Spy Who Loved Me, and Lotus once boasted a Formula One team until it was sold to Renault in 2015.

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