New $1.3 billion facility in Wuhan will aid introduction of more diverse line-up; sports car production to remain in the UK
Felix Page Autocar writer
17 January 2019

Future Lotus models are set to be produced in China, as owner Geely is developing a $1.3 billion (£1.01 billion) factory with a capacity of 150,000 vehicles a year.

According to a Reuters report, the facility in Wuhan would provide an opportunity for the Norfolk-based sports car manufacturer to build SUVs as part of its expansion under Geely ownership. The bulk of production at the new site would be taken up by Geely models, however.

Lotus stated: “Lotus Cars is undergoing an exciting resurgence with the backing of Geely, and expanding the brand's manufacturing footprint globally is a key part of the company's strategy.”

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

A Porsche Cayenne-rivalling SUV model due in 2020 will begin a planned model expansion for Lotus beyond sports cars, in line with Geely’s commitment to “restoring Lotus into being a leading global luxury brand”.

A limited-run, £2 million electric hypercar is set to be revealed later this year in concept form, with development well under way at Lotus's Hethel facility.

The opening of the Chinese factory is not thought to threaten UK jobs. As part of Geely’s plan, Lotus SUVs are set to be built in China while production of sports models, such as the Elise and Exige, will remain at Hethel.

A company spokesperson said: “Lotus and our shareholders are fully committed to manufacturing at Hethel for Lotus sports cars and expanding our HQ here in Norfolk with investment in the site... and recruitment of staff.”

Geely is keen to leverage Lotus’ history, with company boss Li Shufu stating that he sees “no reason to move fifty years of combined experience to China; let them do what they do best in Britain”.

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At the time of writing, there are 182 job vacancies advertised at Lotus’ UK headquarters.

Details of which models will be built in China are scarce, with the company set to confirm details “on additional locations and models” in due course.

Geely took control of Lotus with the purchase of a 51% majority stake in May 2017, following earlier acquisitions of Volvo and British taxi manufacturer LEVC.

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Comments
23

17 January 2019

Oh dear, huge error.  What does 'Made In China' do to a car's premium image?  Would you feel confident pressing the brake pedal?...

No.

I say my bit, then go. So although I'm interested in what you may initially say, I don't care what you think about what I've written, so I won't read whatever your reply is.

17 January 2019

All Volvo S90s are made in China

289

17 January 2019

....yes, and they dont exactly fly off the shelf, do they?

17 January 2019
289 wrote:

....yes, and they dont exactly fly off the shelf, do they?

I'm sure the brake pedals work in those that do.

17 January 2019
That bloke wrote:

Oh dear, huge error.  What does 'Made In China' do to a car's premium image?  Would you feel confident pressing the brake pedal?...

No.

Don't fly on a Boeing Dreamliner then...Chinese built rudder. Racist idiot.


20 January 2019
Leslie Brook wrote:

That bloke wrote:

Oh dear, huge error.  What does 'Made In China' do to a car's premium image?  Would you feel confident pressing the brake pedal?...

No.

Don't fly on a Boeing Dreamliner then...Chinese built rudder. Racist idiot.

Criticism against Chinese products is not racism. They have yet to improve a lot in order to have quality, reliability and safety comparable to European manufacturers and certainly to the Japanese. I hope you don't refer to anyone preferring Japanese products as a racist.

17 January 2019

Do us all a favour and keep your comments to yourself 

17 January 2019

It'll most likely be a refashioned Geeley vehicle, which is not a bad thing - Chinese automakers are substantially more developed these days.

Build an SUV for their biggest market, at home - wise. Would be good to see them in the UK also.

And all this likely leading to more cash for Lotus to create truely new sports car products. A sustainable future for Lotus? Fingers crossed.

17 January 2019

This is fine.  As long as Norfolk does more of what it should be doing at the same time - Porsche style.

17 January 2019

At last, we will get a reliable Lotus instead of the rubbish that is built by webbed feet morons in Norfolk

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