Geely Auto Group, which claims to be China's "leading privately owned automotive company", has opened a research and development facility at Raunheim, Germany, "to accelerate innovation in new propulsion systems and next-generation mobility technology".

Geely Auto Technical Deutschland (GATD), near Frankfurt airport, is expected to employ around 300 engineers and technology specialists within the next few years as the group accelerates work on electrification and new energy vehicles.

The new centre will focus on developing premium electric cars, augmenting R&D already underway at other facilities which include the Geely Research Institute in Hangzhou Bay, China Euro Vehicle Technology (CEVT) in (Geely Swedish unit Volvo Cars' home) Gothenburg plus centres in Linjiang, China, and Coventry, UK, home to the automaker's 'London taxi'-making subsidiary.

Geely Auto has 20,000 engineers of which 2,500 are focused on new energy technology.

The new research and development centre will report directly to Feng Qing Feng, the group's vice president and chief technology officer, who said: "We are delighted to extend our worldwide R&D capabilities to Germany where we hope to take advantage of high quality skills and technical capabilities in the country's automotive industry.

"Technology developed at GATD will enhance the pace of innovation at our portfolio of brands which are pioneering new systems in electrification, autonomous drive systems and connectivity."