Zhejiang Geely Holding Group Co. kicked off construction on a 9 billion yuan ($1.3 billion) assembly plant for high-end vehicles, including the Lotus British sports car, in Wuhan, the capital of central China's Hubei province.
Lotus cars are built in Norfolk, England. The Wuhan factory will be Lotus' first production site outside the United Kingdom.
The Wuhan plant will start production in two years. It will have capacity to build 150,000 conventional and electrified vehicles annually, according to information the Hubei provincial government disclosed on its website.
Aside from Lotus, it remains unknown what other vehicles the Wuhan factory will assemble under Geely's brand umbrella.
In 2017, Geely acquired a 49.9 percent stake in troubled Proton Holdings, which makes cars under the Proton brand, from Malaysian conglomerate DRB-Hicom. Under the same deal, the private Chinese carmaker also purchased a 51-percent interest in Lotus Cars from Proton.
Geely produces vehicles for the Geely mass-market brand and Lynk & CO, a premium marque it owns along with Volvo Car Corp.
In the first two months, combined Geely and Lynk & CO brand sales fell 9 percent to 241,945.
Geely expects to sell 1.51 million vehicles in 2019 under the two brands, virtually unchanged from 2018.
Geely, based in the east China city of Hangzhou, acquired the Swedish car brand Volvo from Ford Motor Co. in 2010.