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British Lotus cars to be 'Made in China' at new Geely plant: documents


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British Lotus cars to be 'Made in China' at new Geely plant: documents

By Yilei Sun and Brenda Goh

 

2019-01-17T043527Z_2_LYNXNPEF0G050_RTROPTP_3_GEELY-CHINA-LOTUS-PRODUCTION.JPG

FILE PHOTO: The Lotus Exige Sport 410 is seen during the first press day of the Paris auto show, in Paris, France, October 2, 2018. REUTERS/Regis Duvignau/File Photo

 

BEIJING/SHANGHAI (Reuters) - The Chinese owner of Lotus plans to start producing the British sports car brand in China for the first time with the opening of a new 9 billion yuan ($1.3 billion) factory in Wuhan city, company job advertisements and government documents showed.

 

The previously unreported plans are Zhejiang Geely Holding Group's [GEELY.UL] first move to shake up the British brand since its purchase of a majority stake in 2017.

 

The move is in line with Geely's ambitions to build more up-market cars and throw off its reputation for copycat designs and shoddy quality. For Lotus, it could mean greater production volumes and new models such as SUVs to boost sales.

 

"For Geely, going high-end can help it take more market share," said Alan Kang, Shanghai based analyst at LMC Automotive. "Geely needs to do that to better compete with global brands."

 

Lotus cars are currently built in Norfolk, England.

 

Geely and Lotus said in a joint statement that while Norfolk was Lotus's manufacturing home, a key part of the firm's strategy to revive the brand was expanding the brand's manufacturing footprint globally.

 

"Details on additional locations and models will be confirmed in due course," the company said in an e-mail to Reuters.

 

The planning authority of Hubei province, whose capital is Wuhan, last month approved Geely's plans for the plant. The factory will be able to manufacture 150,000 cars annually, according to a document posted on the authority's website.

 

The Wuhan Development Zone, where the factory will be based, said in a statement posted on its website last month that production at the plant would include "Geely's Lotus project".

 

The Wuhan Development Zone did not respond to Reuters' request for comment.

 

The documents did not say when the plant would start operations. The facility is approved to build all-electric battery cars, electric hybrids as well as combustion engine cars like Lotuses.

 

Job advertisements on Geely's website show the automaker is looking to fill at least 20 Wuhan-based roles for the Lotus project.

 

LUXURY AMBITIONS

While is not clear what portion of the new Chinese production line would be devoted to the British brand, greater production volumes would be consistent with Geely's stated ambition to grow the market for Lotus by broadening its line-up.

 

Geely sold only 1,630 Lotuses globally in 2018.

 

Lotus currently produces models such as the Evora and Elise. James Bond famously drove a Lotus Esprit in 1977's "The Spy Who Loved Me", and Lotus once boasted a Formula One team until it was sold to Renault <RENA.PA> for just one pound in 2015.

 

But in a major break with the past, two sources familiar with the matter said Lotus would likely make luxury SUVs instead of sports cars during the Wuhan plant's initial phase.

 

One of the sources said Geely wanted to emulate premium carmakers like Porsche <PSHG_p.DE>, whose luxury SUV models were selling well in China.

 

The share of luxury SUVs in China's overall passenger car market grew from 4.07 percent in 2014 to 5.01 percent in 2018, according to data from consultancy J.D. Power.

 

Geely has forecast flat sales this year after the Chinese auto market contracted for the first time in more than two decades in 2018.

The company has made waves in the auto world with its $9 billion purchase of a stake in Germany's Daimler AG <DAIG.DE> and its $1.8 billion acquisition of Sweden's Volvo. It bought 51 percent of Lotus from Malaysian automaker Proton in 2017.

 

($1 = 6.8663 Chinese yuan renminbi)

 

(Reporting by Yilei Sun in Beijing and Brenda Goh in Shanghai; Editing by Stephen Coates)

 
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-- © Copyright Reuters 2019-01-17
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9 minutes ago, overherebc said:

I can see a possible problem with having the pedals on the left and the steering wheel on the right.

That would suit Best Beloved, she is always telling me when to change gear...

 

Fit a steering wheel in the back for "Little Miss JAG", she likes to join in with the instructions as well!

😁

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15 minutes ago, JAG said:

That would suit Best Beloved, she is always telling me when to change gear...

 

Fit a steering wheel in the back for "Little Miss JAG", she likes to join in with the instructions as well!

😁

On a serious note, some of those kiddies steering wheels, cheap ones, have a metal rod in the column. It will skewer anything that hits it in an accident.

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This could become a life line for the hethel factory as a centre of excellence for. Geeley and an opportunity for them to be able to supply cars into the UK  which may not be a totally bad thing. After all India company Tata owners of Land rover are now building in China. Geeley also owns a large share of proton so has an interesting base there too . ..   As Volvo is also owned by Chinese there are interesting interesting times ahead!

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15 minutes ago, gwynt said:

The MG brand is already produced in China so why not.

 

In UK Lotus is said to stand for Loads of trouble usually serious.

Chinese QC is of a questionable standard. 

I'll say no more. 😆😆

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Just now, marcusarelus said:

The anti Asian stuff never gets old does it. 😁

chin.PNG

You've obviously never worked with a chinese fabrication company.

Most if not all contracts placed with Korean companies by Oz, US and UK client companies have a stipulation that 'no material shall be supplied by or from China.'

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16 minutes ago, overherebc said:

You've obviously never worked with a chinese fabrication company.

Most if not all contracts placed with Korean companies by Oz, US and UK client companies have a stipulation that 'no material shall be supplied by or from China.'

I have and it's a little more complicated than you you stipulate.  But wait and see?  Do you really think you know more about the car assembly business than Lotus?  If you are prepared to supervise purchasing and production and hire the right people you'll get a decent product. And you won't have to worry about buying material in Europe.😁

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23 minutes ago, marcusarelus said:

I have and it's a little more complicated than you you stipulate.  But wait and see?  Do you really think you know more about the car assembly business than Lotus?  If you are prepared to supervise purchasing and production and hire the right people you'll get a decent product. And you won't have to worry about buying material in Europe.😁

And going by your posted photograph you are an astronaut?

I've been on contracts that used chinese workers and chinese supplied stainless steel, all certified material, from China, that was rusting through before the job was completed.

Supplied from China pre-fabricated sections, all with signed off documentation on dimensional control etc from China, that required lots of re-work to get them to fit properly. In some cases they had to be scrapped and made again.

So I am aware what standards of Quality Control are worth from China.

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1 minute ago, overherebc said:

And going by your posted photograph you are an astronaut?

I've been on contracts that used chinese workers and chinese supplied stainless steel, all certified material, from China, that was rusting through before the job was completed.

Supplied from China pre-fabricated sections, all with signed off documentation on dimensional control etc from China, that required lots of re-work to get them to fit properly. In some cases they had to be scrapped and made again.

So I am aware what standards of Quality Control are worth from China.

So is Lotus.  😁

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1 minute ago, overherebc said:

And going by your posted photograph you are an astronaut?

I've been on contracts that used chinese workers and chinese supplied stainless steel, all certified material, from China, that was rusting through before the job was completed.

Supplied from China pre-fabricated sections, all with signed off documentation on dimensional control etc from China, that required lots of re-work to get them to fit properly. In some cases they had to be scrapped and made again.

So I am aware what standards of Quality Control are worth from China.

It's one thing for Chinese exporters to cheat foreigners. Seems dubious that steel producerst are going to mess with a domestic gargantua like Geely.

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6 minutes ago, bristolboy said:

It's one thing for Chinese exporters to cheat foreigners. Seems dubious that steel producerst are going to mess with a domestic gargantua like Geely.

A few years ago Weber carburettor company, Spanish, cut back on manufacturing and sold a lot of machinery to a US company. The US company shipped the machines to China and they started producing the carbs.

The machinery was never really looked after and the material quality and finish of the carbs started falling.

Been many reports on social media from people who bought them for restoring older cars and ended up throwing them in the bin or spending money to get them reconditioned just to get their cars working.

Just one story.

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6 minutes ago, overherebc said:

A few years ago Weber carburettor company, Spanish, cut back on manufacturing and sold a lot of machinery to a US company. The US company shipped the machines to China and they started producing the carbs.

The machinery was never really looked after and the material quality and finish of the carbs started falling.

Been many reports on social media from people who bought them for restoring older cars and ended up throwing them in the bin or spending money to get them reconditioned just to get their cars working.

Just one story.

Titanic built in Ireland and captained by a Brit.  -  Just one story. 

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9 minutes ago, overherebc said:

A few years ago Weber carburettor company, Spanish, cut back on manufacturing and sold a lot of machinery to a US company. The US company shipped the machines to China and they started producing the carbs.

The machinery was never really looked after and the material quality and finish of the carbs started falling.

Been many reports on social media from people who bought them for restoring older cars and ended up throwing them in the bin or spending money to get them reconditioned just to get their cars working.

Just one story.

But that's still about exports. 

"Geely, is the biggest privately-owned automobile manufacturer and seventh biggest manufacturer overall in China. Their flagship brand Geely Auto became the top Chinese car brand in 2017."

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Automotive_industry_in_China

What sane Chinese company is going to mess with them?

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10 minutes ago, baansgr said:

MG...Lotus...British Leyland rust bucket against a sporting marque

If you want a real rust bucket go for a Lancia Beta.

Nickname, the flying badge, as after a few years that was about all that was left of the body panels. 😆😆

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What next ,  Control our Nuclear Power Plants , then our Bangers and Mash. 

            UK ,  once great , so i am told ..

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13 hours ago, marcusarelus said:

supervise purchasing and production and hire the right people

you have obviously never lived in China.  You would have a better chance of achieving this in Thailand.

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12 hours ago, bristolboy said:

But that's still about exports. 

"Geely, is the biggest privately-owned automobile manufacturer and seventh biggest manufacturer overall in China. Their flagship brand Geely Auto became the top Chinese car brand in 2017."

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Automotive_industry_in_China

What sane Chinese company is going to mess with them?

I have asked my friends in China if they would buy a Geely again and they just laugh at me

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13 hours ago, Retiredandhappyhere said:

Was that a fairly recent event? 

My point was that anecdotal evidence from one person is not relevant to a discussion of industrial merits of a country.  Growing up I was subjected to all sorts of negative information about Japanese cars and motorcycles perhaps a bit was true but the majority was Asian prejudice and nothing to do with reality.  Now we are seeing the same thing with China.  Given the right training the Asians can do what any other race can do.   

bb.jpg

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Funny how ideas and prejudices change, as a boy made in Japan implied poor quality, a few years later made in Germany implied quality.

We now look at globalisation with Honda made in America and Thailand and other countries, Mercedes in South Africa and check out the variety of scources  for Ford and their parts. 

To condemn China and their manufacturing is very shortsighted, they can and do produce high quality work, hello all you Apple owners.

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On 1/17/2019 at 6:07 PM, marcusarelus said:

Titanic built in Ireland and captained by a Brit.  -  Just one story. 

Lot more to it than your simple statement.

One of the contibuting factors for the speed it was travelling at stemmed from the fact that spontaneous combustion had ignited the coal in one of bunkers. Those bunkers were 3 story building high.

The only thing they could do was to shovel as fast as possible into the boilers, it's almost impossible to douse that kind of fire.

Because of the huge tonnage involved all the extra steam produced was used for increased speed. The adjacent bunkers had also to brought down in level as well.

The end result of using all that fuel so quickly meant that speed had to be increased so the distance coveredwould ensure that the remaining coal would be sufficient to get the ship to the USA

images (64).jpeg

images (65).jpeg

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