Chinese auto giant Geely which owns Lotus, has begun production on a new factory for the British sports car brand. According to reports, the facility in Wuhan, the capital of central China’s Hubei province, will cost approximately $1.3 billion.
It will be the first Lotus production facility outside of the UK, but it will also produce models for Lotus as well as other premium vehicles for brands in Geely’s portfolio which also includes Volvo and Polestar.
Production at the new plant will start in two years time and will have the capacity to produce 150,000 vehicles annually. Both traditionally-propelled cars as well as electric vehicles will be produced in the new factory.
Sources suggested earlier this year that the Wuhan factory would initially focus on building luxury SUVs under the Lotus moniker, with the success of other luxury SUVs in the Chinese market from the likes of Porsche inspiring the decision. Last year, Geely also showed its intent to challenge Porsche with two Lotus SUVs.
Lotus was acquired by Geely in 2017 following the purchase of a 49.9% stake in Lotus’ previous owner Proton Holdings from Malaysian company DRB-Hicom. As part of the deal it also bought a 51% controlling stake in Lotus from Proton.
At the time of takeover, Geely announced that the company is committed to supporting the transformation of Proton and Lotus with its expertise. Geely said it aims to unleash the full potential of Lotus cars and bring it into a new phase of development, with its experience accumulated through Volvo’s revitalization.