Geely Wuhan Plant Now Under Construction In China, Lotus Will Build Cars There

Since Colin Chapman founded Lotus, the British automaker’s cars were made in the United Kingdom with the exception of a handful of Elise models. The S1 came out at a time when Proton was running the show, and a handful of S1 models were assembled in Shah Alam, Malaysia back in the 1990s.
Lotus Exige Sport 410 12 photos
Photo: Lotus
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But Lotus is controlled by Geely nowadays, and the Chinese mothership has big expectations from the British automaker. In anticipation of the first-ever SUV from Lotus, the Zhejiang Geely Holding Group has started construction of an assembly plant for high-end vehicles in Wuhan.

This factory isn’t exclusive to Lotus according to Automotive News Europe, which quotes a yearly capacity of 150,000 vehicles. The Hubei provincial government disclosed that conventional and electrified vehicles will be manufactured in the Middle Kingdom.

Estimated to cost $1.3 billion, the plant would be the second production site for Lotus outside of the United Kingdom after the short stint in Shah Alam. “Aside from Lotus, it remains unknown what other vehicles the Wuhan factory will assemble from Geely.” The plant will go online in 2021, but so far, it isn’t known what Lotus plans to make there.

The Chinese juggernaut also owns Volvo Cars, Polestar, London Electric Vehicle Company, and half of smart. The next-generation fortwo and forfour will be manufactured in China, and there are plans to venture into the B-segment with an all-new nameplate.

Turning our attention back to Lotus, an Evora-based sports car is coming in 2020. Described as “an all-new sports car” despite the old underpinnings, the mysterious model would be the first Lotus developed under the control of Geely. The newcomer could feature 2+2 seating, mirroring the layout of the Evora.

In related news, the headquarters in Hethel are being overhauled and there’s the revival of the Esprit in the pipeline. The famed nameplate will return as a high-tier model according to reports in the British media, slotting above the Evora and competing against the likes of Ferrari.
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About the author: Mircea Panait
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After a 1:43 scale model of a Ferrari 250 GTO sparked Mircea's interest for cars when he was a kid, an early internship at Top Gear sealed his career path. He's most interested in muscle cars and American trucks, but he takes a passing interest in quirky kei cars as well.
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