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Group Lotus owner snaps up flying car maker

PUBLISHED: 12:25 13 November 2017 | UPDATED: 13:25 13 November 2017

An artists impression of the TF-X model of flying car being developed by Terrafugia, the US firm which has been bought by Lotus owner Geely Holdings. Picture: Geely

An artists impression of the TF-X model of flying car being developed by Terrafugia, the US firm which has been bought by Lotus owner Geely Holdings. Picture: Geely

Geely

The Chinese owner of Norfolk sports car-maker Group Lotus has set its sights high by buying a leading flying car company.

Geely Holdings, which bought Hethel-based Lotus in September, has announced the acquisition of United States firm Terrafugia.

And Lotus expertise could be fed into the development of the world’s first vertical take-off and landing vehicle, which the company aims to release by 2025.

The Chinese automotive giant, which also owns Volvo, said Terrafugia would benefit from its significant expertise and track record of innovation across the globe.

Terrafugia, which aims to deliver its first flying car to market in 2019, will continue to be based in America and Geely said it had already tripled the engineering team in preparation for the sale.

Geely chairman Li Shufu said: “The team at Terrafugia have been at the forefront of believing in and realizing the vision for a flying car and creating the ultimate mobility solution.

“This is a tremendously exciting sector and we believe that Terrafugia is ideally positioned to change mobility as we currently understand it and herald the development of a new industry in doing so.

“Our investment in the company reflects our shared belief in their vision and we are committed to extending our full support to Terrafugia, leveraging the synergies provided by our international operations and track record of innovation, to make the flying car a reality.”

Group Lotus, a member of the EDP/EADT Top 100 list of companies by highest turnover in Norfolk and Suffolk, announced a return to profitability in August as it continues a three-year turnaround plan.

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