lotus apx

Construction of a plant in Guangzhou, China to build a Lotus SUV – expected to go on sale in 2019 – could begin as soon as the end of this year, according to a Bernama report.

Guangzhou Development and Reform Commission deputy director Wang Ke Si said that the Proton subsidiary chose Guangzhou as a production hub because of the district’s strong support facilities for the automotive industry, as well as the assistance of the local government.

Wang added that the 10 billion yuan (RM6.17 billion) project will include the construction of manufacturing facilities, headquarters and a research and development centre.

“It’s still under development. Studies on soil usage have been completed and we have sent the relevant documents to the ministries, National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) and other related commissions. We will begin at the end of this year,” he said.

One interesting titbit revealed in the report concerns the countries the SUV will allegedly be sold – the national news agency said that the vehicle will be sold not only across China, but in other Asian markets as well. This concurs with then-chairman of Proton Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s previous remarks that a Lotus SUV will indeed be sold outside China (and could be badged as a Proton as well), contrary to prior reports.

The project to build a production hub in China is part of a joint venture signed between Proton, Group Lotus and Goldstar Heavy Industrial in April last year. The JV company will build and sell Lotus-badged passenger cars, as well as providing aftersales service for the brand’s products in China. It is reported that Proton and Goldstar each hold a 50% stake of the company’s authorised capital.