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Geely denies Lotus rumours

By raccars Published

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Geely says it is not about to buy Lotus but is planning to move Volvo S90 production to China.

The chairman of Geely has denied rumours that the Chinese car maker is buying Lotus. Shufu Li said that whilst his firm talked to Lotus’ parent company Proton around two years ago, the talks did not move beyond the level of potential collaboration.

Li said that Proton had been looking for partnerships with other firms but the conversation it had with Geely firmly centred on technological cooperation and never touched on the topic of buying equity. Li added that he had learned about the rumours of a Geely buy-out of Lotus through the media.

Whilst denying that Geely had talked of purchasing Lotus, Li did admit that Geely had an interest in working with Lotus. He said ‘different options’ were being considered but did not reveal any more details. Li also admitted that he likes motor racing and is in the process of building a new Chinese race track but he said that he tried to avoid allowing his personal hobbies to influence his business decisions.

Geely’s parent firm, the Geely Holding Group, currently owns the London Taxi Company and Volvo but Li said that the company has no plans to buy another brand to add to the list at the present time. Geely and Volvo are currently in the process of moving closer together as production facilities and model underpinnings are increasingly shared. Li said that placing a focus on this partnership was a priority to enable both brands to improve efficiency and grow their global presence.

Greely plans Volvo S90 move to China

Volvo, meanwhile, is set to move production of the S90 to China and future production of the 60- and 40-series models will also take place in the firm's home country. The S90 models, together with the long-wheelbase cars focused on the Chinese market, the S90 Excellence and the S90 L, will be manufactured in Daqing in Heilongjiang province. The S90 has, until now, been built in Sweden.

Geely-owned Volvo has also said that a significant percentage of the 60-series models, including the V60 and S60, will be created in Chengdu, which is in the Szechuan province. The smaller 40-series cars will be made at the as yet unfinished Geely plant at Lugiao 200 miles to the south of Shanghai. This will also be the site for the production of cars for Lynk & Co, Geely’s new brand making cars based upon the Volvo Compact Architecture.

Speaking as the S90’s long-wheelbase models were launched in Shanghai, Håkan Samuelsson, the president and CEO of Volvo, said that designating one car line for each of three plants would ensure the most efficient production structure and ensure capacity for growth in the future.

'Most progressive' aspirations

Lars Danielsson, Volvo's Asia Pacific senior vice president, added that Volvo’s mission was to become the most progressive car making brand in the world. He added that the company was committed to making the most of being a single unit with Geely and manufacturing in China, which is now replacing America as the planet’s largest premium car maker, creating more than two million units in this year alone.

Volvo’s new sites in China will join the company’s two European plants in Belgium and in Sweden. These will continue to build some of the 60- and 90-series models. There are also plans for a new American plant in South Carolina, which will build 60-series cars, mostly to cater for North America’s automotive market.

China is currently one of Volvo’s fastest-growing markets. Sales were up by ten per cent up to August this year, reaching an eight-month total of almost 55,000 units. In Britain, Volvo sold almost 44,000 units last year, although it has plans to increase this to 60,000 over the next four years.

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