Lotus to Build Cars in China

Lotus cars are currently built in Norfolk England

Lotus cars are currently built in Norfolk England

Back in 2017, Geely bought a majority stake in Lotus to reinvigorate the struggling brand. Geely is traditionally a low-cost-high-volume manufacturer, but it's looking to expand into higher-end vehicle markets, and its control of Lotus is part of that plan.

The planning authority of Hubei province approved Geely's plans for the plant in late December.

While it is not clear what portion of the new Wuhan plant would be devoted to the British brand, greater production volumes would be consistent with Geely's stated ambition to grow the market for Lotus by broadening its lineup.

A spokesman for the brand added that Lotus were fully committed to production in Norfolk, citing recent investments including the new museum, Heritage Centre and Customer Experience Centre.

Geely, which also owns Volvo, is looking to build more upmarket models, which will include the long-anticipated first SUV from Lotus and a huge ramp up in production for the brand which sold just 1,630 units previous year.

"The home of Lotus sportscar manufacturing and engineering is the company's Hethel headquarters in Norfolk, UK".

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A website for the planning authority of Hubei revealed an annual production capacity of 150,000 units for the plant, while a website for the Wuhan Development Zone revealed that the plant will be used for "Geely's Lotus project". The facility is approved for building electric hybrids and combustion engine cars like Lotuses, along with all-electric battery cars.

Reuters got hold of government documents, revealing that Geely's new Wuhan factory will build models for the British sports auto maker while there are now 20 open Wuhan-based roles related to Lotus on Geely's website. The documents however, did not say when the plant would begin operations.

Geely sold only 1,630 Lotuses globally in 2018.

Does this mean your 2020 model year Elise will come with "Made in China" stamped on it? Lotus cars have been featured in James Bond movies such as "The Spy Who Loved Me" in 1977, and "For Your Eyes Only" in 1981.

One of the sources said Geely wanted to emulate premium carmakers, whose luxury SUV models were selling well in China.

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