Lotus is poised to build new vehicles in China following the formation of a new joint-venture company by its owner, Proton, and Goldstar Heavy Industrial.
The development strengthens the likelihood of a Lotus-badged SUV, as exclusively reported by Autocar last September, as well as bolstering its sports car sales.
According to a statement from Lotus, "the collaboration seeks to accelerate the development of Lotus cars in the premium sports segment in China".
Lotus already exports its Hethel-built sportscars to China, and chief executive Jean-Marc Gales has pinpointed the country as a key growth market for exports. Last year it sold 80 cars in China from a global total of 2015 vehicles.
Dato’ Abdul Harith Abdullah, chief executive officer of Proton, said: “The agreement will see the establishment of a new joint-venture company for the purpose of undertaking research and development activities in the use of efficient and advanced technology.
"The joint-venture company will then produce and sell Lotus-branded passenger cars as well as provide aftersales services in connection with its products in the People’s Republic of China".