Geely Confirms Plans to Build Lotus SUV in China

January 17, 2019 at 11:54 AM

China’s Zhejiang Geely Holding Group Co. says the new plant it is constructing in Wuhan will be used to assemble the crossover/SUV Group Lotus unit is developing.

The 9 billion yuan ($1.3 billion) factory will have annual capacity to build 150,000 vehicles. The bulk of the output will go toward Geely and its Volvo and Lynk brands.

Due in 2020, the upcoming crossover will be based on a modified version of Volvo’s SPA platform that carries the Swedish company’s XC60 and XC90 crossover vehicles. The Lotus model will compete against Porsche Cayenne and other high-end European crossover models.

Lotus will continue to assemble its sports cars in England. But the company says manufacturing the new crossover in China is a key part of the brand’s global strategy. Reuters says Geely aims to hire 20 Lotus workers in Wuhan.

Last year, Geely announced plans to invest £1.5 billion ($1.9 billion) in Lotus. The funds will be used to develop new models and upgrade Lotus facilities in England. Separately, Geely is erecting a second factory in Ningbo, China, that will produce as many as 250,000 large vehicles per year for itself and Lynk.

Geely acquired 51% of Lotus from Malaysian carmaker Proton Holdings Bhd in 2017 at the same time it bought 49.9% of Proton from DRB-Hicom.