Zhejiang Geely Holding Group has started construction on a 9 billion-yuan ($1.3 billion) assembly plant for high-end vehicles, including the Lotus brand, in Wuhan, the capital of central China's Hubei province.
Lotus cars are built in Norfolk, England. The Wuhan factory will be Lotus' first production site outside the UK.
The Wuhan plant will start production in two years. It will have the capacity to build 150,000 conventional and electrified vehicles annually, according to information the Hubei provincial government disclosed on its website. Aside from Lotus, it remains unknown what other vehicles the Wuhan factory will assemble from Geely.
In 2017, Geely acquired a 49.9 percent stake in troubled Proton Holdings, which makes cars under the Proton brand, from Malaysian conglomerate DRB-Hicom. Under the same deal, the private Chinese automaker also purchased a 51-percent interest in Lotus from Proton.
Geely produces vehicles for the Geely mass-market brand and Lynk & CO, a premium marque it owns along with the Volvo Car brand, which it acquired from Ford Motor in 2010.
In the first two months, combined Geely and Lynk & CO brand sales fell 9 percent to 241,945. Geely expects to sell 1.51 million vehicles in 2019 under the two brands, virtually unchanged from 2018.