Recent job advertisements and government documents from China suggest that the Geely holding group could be planning to start producing Lotus cars in its home turf for the first time. Reports suggest that the company has even opened a new $1.3 billion factory in Wuhan City in China.

This is Geely’s first move to shake up the British brand since it bought a majority stake in 2017. The same move also falls in line with Geely’s ambitions to ramp up production of up-market cars and lay its age-old reputation of copied design and unreliable quality to rest.

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Lotus could be looking at greater production volumes and new models such as SUVs in order to boost sales.

On the other hand, Lotus could be looking at greater production volumes and new models such as SUVs in order to boost sales. Currently, the British carmaker builds its cars in Norfolk, England. In a joint statement that was issued last month, the companies stated that while Norfolk was Lotus’ manufacturing home, a crucial aspect of reviving the company was to expand its global footprint.

“Details on additional locations and models will be confirmed in due course,” the company said in an e-mail to Reuters. Geely’s plans for the plant was approved last month by authorities of the Hubei province whose capital Wuhan. A document that was posted on the authority’s website suggested that the new factory will be capable of producing 150,000 cars annually.

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Internal sources suggests Geely wanted to emulate premium carmakers like Porsche, whose luxury SUV models were selling well in China

In a major break with the past, reports citing two sources familiar to the matter suggested that Lotus was likely to make a luxury SUV instead of a sports car in the initial phase at Wuhan. One of the sources said Geely wanted to emulate premium carmakers like Porsche, whose luxury SUV models were selling well in China.

Geely turned heads in the automotive industry with its $9 billion purchase of a stake in Germany’s Daimler AG and its $1.8 billion acquisition of Volvo. In 2017, the company bought 51 per cent of Lotus from Malaysian automaker Proton.