A new $1.3-billion factory is being constructed far, far away.
Last year, Chinese automaker Geely took over Lotus vowing to turn it into a luxury rival for Porsche with a nearly $2 billion investment. Part of Geely's strategy to reinvent Lotus was to increase production with investment into China. This same strategy has worked wonders for Volvo, which is also under Geely ownership. Autocar reports that Geely is now moving forward with its plans to produce Lotus vehicles in China with an all-new $1.3 billion factory.
This new facility in Wuhan will mainly be responsible for building Geely models but will also work on Lotus' future SUV. Lotus said in a statement, "Lotus Cars is undergoing an exciting resurgence with the backing of Geely, and expanding the brand's manufacturing footprint globally is a key part of the company's strategy." The first part of this strategy includes a Porsche Cayenne-rivalling SUV arriving in 2020, which will aid in "restoring Lotus into being a leading global luxury brand."
The next part of the plan includes a limited-run, $2.5 million all-electric hypercar, which should debut later this year in concept form. Even though the company's SUVs will be built in China, Lotus says it is committed to keeping jobs at its Hethel factory in the UK.
A company spokesperson said, "Lotus and our shareholders are fully committed to manufacturing at Hethel for Lotus sports cars and expanding our HQ here in Norfolk with investment in the site and recruitment of staff." This means the next generation of Lotus sports cars like the Elise and Evora will still be hand-built in England, just as they have been for decades. Lotus sold 1,630 cars in 2018, its best figure since 2011 and an increase of 2% compared to 2017. Once the company adds an SUV to its portfolio, there's no telling how high its sales figures will climb.