BEIJING SHOW: Lotus Engineering helping start-up automaker

By just-auto.com editorial team | 20 November 2006

Lotus Engineering is taking a key development role in the introduction of a new Chinese car company.

At the Beijing international motor show on Saturday, the UK-based automotive engineering specialist, owned 100% by Malaysian automaker Proton, announced it is the lead engineering and development consultant for Jinhua Youngman Automobile Manufacturing (Youngman) which is launching a new range of cars under a new brand name over the next five years.

Lotus Engineering managing director Albert Lam said: "For the last two and a half years, [we have] been working with Youngman on a number of projects. We have built an excellent working relationship based on trust and the shared values of entrepreneurship and innovation.

"It is on these foundations that we will be working with Youngman's engineers on the design and development of new vehicles to help them to establish their new brand in the Chinese automotive industry."

Youngman is a domestic commercial vehicle manufacturer and recently secured a licence from the Chinese authorities to produce passenger vehicles. Its senior management has aggressive plans for their new brand in the domestic and export market and plans to have a full four-strong range of models in place within five years of the first launch.

Jinhua Youngman Automobile Manufacturing chairman Pang Qingnian added: "Lotus Engineering is a globally recognised leader in automotive technology and vehicle engineering and in our recent work together we recognised its formidable professional capabilities. As a result Youngman identified [it] as the ideal consultant to support the development of our new range of cars.

"With our British friends we will produce passenger cars designed, engineered and built to exceptional standards. I have no doubt this prestigious collaboration will be a momentous step towards a glittering future for Youngman."

Lotus Engineering claims to be one of only a few global engineering businesses with the skills and expertise to manage turnkey, full vehicle engineering programmes from concept to production and is one of only two consultancy companies that also design, develop, manufacture and sell their own cars globally (28 countries including the US).

Development work on the first model for the new car producer, a four-door saloon, is due to start early in 2007 and will be carried out at Lotus Engineering's Hethel, Norfolk headquarters in eastern England, and at its other  engineering centres around the world. It is expected that the development of further new models will lead to a range of cars benefiting from the company's expertise.

Lotus Engineering is also working with a number of other clients in the fast-expanding Chinese and Indian 'emerging' markets. It opened a dedicated Chinese office three years ago and is planning on opening a similar office in India in the next six months.

As well as establishing an engineering centre in China, Lotus Engineering has a European technical centre at its Hethel headquarters dedicated to the Chinese automotive industry.

A UK-based spokesman for Lotus confirmed to just-auto on Monday that the consultancy is continuing to assist parent company Proton with product development engineering alongside its work for outside automakers.