Lotus gears up for expansion in China
A three-way collaboration is underway to expand the Lotus cars business in China.
Lotus is targeting the premium sports car segment in that country and leveraging incentives offered by the Fujian Provincial Government. The expansion has been underpinned by a joint venture agreement between Lotus Group International, PROTON and Goldstar Heavy Industrial.
Both PROTON in Malaysia and Hethel-based Lotus Group are subsidiaries of the Malaysian giant DRB-HICOM Berhad.
Dato’ Abdul Harith Abdullah, chief executive of PROTON, said: “The JV agreement will see the establishment of a new company to undertake R & D activities in the use of efficient and advanced technology. The JV company will then produce and sell Lotus branded passenger cars as well as provide after sales services in connection with its products in the People’s Republic of China.
“The automotive market in China is the single largest in the world today and still growing so it is only natural for an established iconic company like Lotus to embark on the possibility of expansion, venture into the market and seek the available opportunities, in light of the keen interest shown by the many enquiries received to date.
“It is very difficult to ignore the market and Lotus will fill the gap in providing a lifestyle alternative to the growing demands of the affluent and market conscious local community.”
Lotus CEO Jean-Marc Gales said Lotus recently announced a 55 per cent year-on-year increase in car sales for its 2014/15 financial year with 36 new dealers appointed in the 12 months.
“China has appeared to be the top key growth market for Lotus exports and is expected to grow at a very fast rate. Lotus Group is excited about the opportunities of this new joint venture,” he said.
Lotus will continue to manufacture its current range of Lotus sports cars (Evora, Exige and Elise) exclusively at its HQ in Hethel.
• PHOTOGRAPH SHOWS: Lotus Group International, PROTON and Goldstar Heavy Industrial signing the joint venture agreement