Geely – owner of Lotus – is reportedly planning to start producing Lotus cars in a new facility in Wuhan, China.
Geely took control of the brand in 2017, but its strategic direction has not been made clear since then. Reports suggest the move could be part of a broader strategy to boost production and add new models – such as SUVs – to the Lotus brand.
According to a Reuters report, 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.
Last year, Lotus Cars registered its strongest sales since 2011 with sales reaching 1,630 units. This year, the company is planning to expand sales volumes in China and the US.
The Reuters report said that a planning authority in Wuhan has approved Geely's plans for the new Geely plant – which will be able to produce 150,000 cars a year. It added that the Wuhan Development Zone said in a statement that production at the plant would include 'Geely's Lotus project'.
Lotus, which Geely acquired in 2017 when it purchased Proton, makes sports cars at Hethel, in Norfolk, England. The brand has strong heritage values in motorsport, but attempts to substantially lift its volume and turn it into a major force – a 'British Porsche' – failed under its previous owners.
See also: Lotus under Geely – what's the plan?