RE: Geely gearing up for Lotus production in China

RE: Geely gearing up for Lotus production in China

Thursday 17th January

Geely gearing up for Lotus production in China

New factory in Wuhan city will apparently include Lotus models. Quelle surprise



When news broke last year of Geely's plan to invest £1.5bn into its Norfolk outpost, we greeted it with the cautious optimism of a group of people who had already been led up the garden path more than once. We also acknowledged at the time that it was probably likely that some manufacturing would eventually migrate to China, given the home address of its new owners and the extent of their ambitions for the brand.

Now, it seems, there is virtual confirmation of that fact with Reuters reporting that the opening of a new £1bn factory in Wuhan city was accompanied by an official government statement declaring that "Geely's Lotus project" was included in the future production plans for the plant. Further investigation by the news agency revealed that Geely is already advertising for at least 20 Wuhan-based roles connected to Lotus on its website.


Does this mean your 2020 model year Elise will come with 'Made in China' stamped on it? Probably not. Instead the expansion is consistent with the exponential growth Geely has in mind for its latest aquisition. The Chinese firm is deadly serious about growing its share of the premium market, and building famous-name cars at volume is obviously the best (and quickest) way of doing that. Of course, when we say 'cars', we mean SUVs because - as we already know - that's the bodyshape being hustled through development at Hethel.

That the new model is designed and engineered at Lotus is crucial to its credibility, but Geely will rather be betting that, in the longer term and certainly globally, no-one will much mind that it rolls off the production line elsewhere - in much the same way that no-one gripes about their Porsche Cayenne being built at a Volkswagen plant in Slovakia.

Frankly, if the successful launch of a Chinese-built luxury SUV cements the status of the designers and engineers at Hethel, and bankrolls their ability to make interesting and exciting sports cars - as it does at Porsche - we're all for the increased scale offered to it by space on the production line at a shiny new facility in Wuhan city.

Author
Discussion

Nerdherder

Original Poster:

440 posts

35 months

Thursday 17th January
quotequote all
Good news. Would expect Geely throw some marketing on this expansion? No official news from them?

Frimley111R

9,327 posts

172 months

Thursday 17th January
quotequote all
No need to yet, it's all behind the scenes stuff for now, new buildings and staff and early prototypes. It takes years to do this.

Agree with PH, no-one cares where cars are built these days because it's not important with the exception of a very very few niche brands

MikeGalos

233 posts

222 months

Thursday 17th January
quotequote all
So, £2,500,000,000 new investment in manufacturing capability with 60% in Hethel and 40% in China? And anybody is saying that's not a great thing for Lotus? Seriously? After decades of scraping by? It'll be nice to see Lotus able to spend more time figuring out how to scrape off those last few pounds of weight rather than Pounds of manufacturing cost.


Composite Guru

1,704 posts

141 months

Thursday 17th January
quotequote all
I don't care where the SUV is built. As long as it fills Lotus coffers with cash to build good sports cars here.

I have a new V40 and if the build quality is as good as that then i'll be really happy.



Edited by Composite Guru on Thursday 17th January 12:21

rockin

6,168 posts

183 months

Thursday 17th January
quotequote all
Frimley111R said:
no-one cares where cars are built these days because it's not important with the exception of a very very few niche brands
Wasn't this supposed to be one of those "few niche brands"?

Someone was lecturing me on here the other day about the apparently crucial distinction between "commercial success" and "brand integrity"....

The best hope is that wider development of the brand will produce the real cash money needed to develop some new, world class sports cars - and hopefully with ongoing activity/employment at Hethel.
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Amanitin

191 posts

75 months

Thursday 17th January
quotequote all
Frimley111R said:
no-one cares where cars are built these days because it's not important with the exception of a very very few niche brands
I disagree. And bought a Mazda 6, made in Japan.

Boggy

4,580 posts

173 months

Thursday 17th January
quotequote all


Ok,

The whole point of owning a Lotus is that they are made in England !

FFS! I've owned 11 so I think I speak with some authority here. I wouldn't buy a Lotus if it was made anywhere else and I won't wish them luck as I do not agree with it.

Boggy

kambites

55,866 posts

159 months

Thursday 17th January
quotequote all
Boggy said:
FFS! I've owned 11 so I think I speak with some authority here. I wouldn't buy a Lotus if it was made anywhere else and I won't wish them luck as I do not agree with it.
I'm pretty sure they couldn't care less what traditional Lotus customers like you and I think. Given Geely's plans for the brand, we are simply too small in number to be relevant.

Personally, I couldn't care less where they're built anyway. If they're investing heavily in the UK in a way which generates jobs here, I don't see a downside to them also employing people in China. Companies cannot realistically build cars outside China to sell in China; the taxation system means the economies just don't stack up.

Edited by kambites on Thursday 17th January 12:31

CABC

2,339 posts

39 months

Thursday 17th January
quotequote all
the original Porsche or AM demographic was very small and irrelevant to the current (larger) market.
I suspect (and hope) that the sports cars are made in Hethel. these will be a small % of total sales.

kambites

55,866 posts

159 months

Thursday 17th January
quotequote all
CABC said:
the original Porsche or AM demographic was very small and irrelevant to the current (larger) market.
I suspect (and hope) that the sports cars are made in Hethel. these will be a small % of total sales.
Again if they want to sell them in China, they'll pretty much have to make them in China. Obviously that doesn't mean they can't make them here as well; that'll come down to shipping costs and duties vs economies of scale.

That is of course assuming they continue to make sports cars at all.

Pommy

9,413 posts

154 months

Thursday 17th January
quotequote all
Good News! Coming soon, the new Lotas Xseege.

Looks like a Lotus but it's just a coincidence and is made in China so great value.

Did anyone say copyright?...



There's a reason a few manufacturers won't produce there.

crofty1984

13,026 posts

142 months

Thursday 17th January
quotequote all
Hopefully this means that you'll have a British engineering team designing SUVs here then those cars being built in China and flogged round the world to fill the Lotus piggy bank. With that money the prestige halo cars would still be presumably be built in Hethel, except without the constant threat of bankruptcy.

I assume that for the Chinese market, some sports car production would also happen in China for domestic tax reasons. Sounds good to me.

Venisonpie

204 posts

20 months

Thursday 17th January
quotequote all
All sounds good to me, compare this to the TVR fiasco and I know where my bet would be. Lotus has an owner with proven credentials in developing Volvo and is investing the right sums needed and in the right areas to satisfy a global market.

Todd Bonzalez

1,896 posts

100 months

Thursday 17th January
quotequote all
crofty1984 said:
Hopefully this means that you'll have a British engineering team designing SUVs here then those cars being built in China and flogged round the world to fill the Lotus piggy bank. With that money the prestige halo cars would still be presumably be built in Hethel, except without the constant threat of bankruptcy.

I assume that for the Chinese market, some sports car production would also happen in China for domestic tax reasons. Sounds good to me.
I'm pretty sure this is the plan smile

CABC

2,339 posts

39 months

Thursday 17th January
quotequote all
Pommy said:
Did anyone say copyright?...

There's a reason a few manufacturers won't produce there.
but as Geely are chinese it'll be different.

Todd Bonzalez

1,896 posts

100 months

Thursday 17th January
quotequote all
Pommy said:
There's a reason a few manufacturers won't produce there.
Nothing to do with it. More than half of the copycat cars aren't manufactured there. They can still buy them there and you'd be insane to not sell in the Chinese market for the last decade or so to try and avoid that.

Frimley111R

9,327 posts

172 months

Thursday 17th January
quotequote all
Venisonpie said:
All sounds good to me, compare this to the TVR fiasco
What fiasco?

Frimley111R

9,327 posts

172 months

Thursday 17th January
quotequote all
Boggy said:
The whole point of owning a Lotus is that they are made in England !

FFS! I've owned 11 so I think I speak with some authority here. I wouldn't buy a Lotus if it was made anywhere else and I won't wish them luck as I do not agree with it.

Boggy
TBH, no you don't. You speak from personal preference. Of course, there will be some people who love the fact that it's made in the UK but in reality those people are a tiny percentage of the market and essentially irrelevant.

I don't see what there is to agree to either. Cars of all main brands are made all over the place, people mostly don't care

dunnoreally

250 posts

46 months

Thursday 17th January
quotequote all
The investment in Hethel is a good thing. The crossovers are pretty anciliary so far as I'm concerned. I wouldn't buy a crossover if my brother was building it, so why should I care where they're making them?

Come on, let's have some more news about the next line of sports cars!

smig12345

30 posts

2 months

Thursday 17th January
quotequote all
Good news in some ways but I wish we still had at least one of our car manufacturers in our own hands.