New plant offers wide capability, and 150,000 annual capacity.
Legendary British sports car marque Lotus is set to grow massively in 2019, with plans revealing that the company is on the cusp of setting up a production facility in Wuhan, China. This will be the first time that Lotus has handled an overseas production facility and crucially, the new plant will provide Lotus with production capacity like never seen before (for the brand, at least).
Job adverts & government documents seen by Autonews Europe tipped them off to this development, as Geely’s been relatively quiet on the Lotus front since they acquired the Hethel-based brand in 2017. Geely’s plans for Lotus is to move it upmarket, and to have it take a far more volume-heavy strategy in the future. Last year Lotus only sold 1,630 cars globally – Geely wants this to change, and drastically at that.
The facility in Wuhan has been given planning permission to not only assemble internal-combustion vehicles, but also combustion-electric hybrids and full-electric vehicles. Additionally, a document posted to the Hubei planning authority website (which includes Wuhan in its jurisdiction) says that the facility will be able to produce as many as 150,000 vehicles annually.
Putting the two together, we’re not going to say that Geely plans to sell 150,000 Lotus cars in the very-near future, or that they’ll be in some-way electrified. Rather, we see this as a move by Geely to future-proof their investment, and also to ensure the flexibility of that facility to be adapted to any demands that the market makes, meaning it could be repurposed for another brand (or to assemble on behalf of another brand) should need be.
The next step in growing demand for Lotus vehicles will be product expansion, the first of which will be the SUV, which we understand is in the later-stages of development, so we should see teasers and/or spyshots towards the second-half of this year. The Lotus SUV should be able to increase the company’s volumes enormously, as it has done with previously-flailing brand Maserati and Alfa Romeo.