It appears that Geely is planning to start producing Lotus cars in China for the first time, with the opening of a new 9 billion yuan (RM5.47 billion) factory in Wuhan city. According to Reuters, the info was revealed through company job advertisements and government documents.

The move is in line with Geely’s ambitions to build more premium cars, which will help shake off its reputation for copycat designs and shoddy quality, the report states. For Lotus however, this could mean increased production volumes, as well as new models such as SUVs to boost sales.

Shanghai based analyst at LMC Automotive, Alan Kang said “for Geely, going high-end can help it take more market share. Geely needs to do that to better compete with global brands.” Currently, Lotus cars are all built in Norfolk, England.

In a joint statement, Geely and Lotus said while Norfolk was Lotus’ manufacturing home, a key part of the firm’s strategy to revive its brand was to expand its manufacturing footprint globally. “Details on additional locations and models will be confirmed in due course,” the company said in an e-mail to Reuters.

Lotus is rumoured to be working on Project Omega – an electric hypercar that will cost RM10 million each

Just recently, the planning authority of Hubei province (capital is Wuhan) approved of Geely’s plans for the plant – the factory will reportedly 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.” It’s been approved to build all-electric cars, electric hybrids and combustion engine cars like Lotuses. The documents however, did not say when the plant would begin operations.

Job advertisements on Geely’s website show that the automaker is looking to fill at least 20 Wuhan-based roles for the Lotus project. Whether or not the plant will build Lotus’ existing range of sports cars remains unknown, and word is Geely wants to develop a luxury Lotus SUV to rival the likes of the Porsche Cayenne, which sells well in China.