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Group Lotus owner snaps up flying auto maker

Group Lotus owner snaps up flying auto maker

After buying Volvo Cars and investing in Lotus Cars, Geely Holding eyes a nascent market that could grow exponentially in the following years as autonomous technologies mature.

Zhejiang Geely Holding Group, the same company behind Volvo Cars, has announced it will acquire Terrafugia Inc, the USA -based flying auto developer.

Geely, which owns a stake in national carmaker Proton, said it had received the necessary approval for the deal, including from the USA government's Committee on Foreign Investment, to take over all of Terrafugia's operations and assets. It closed the day at HK$28.2, or 6.4% higher than Monday.

It quoted John Zeng, managing director of LMC Automotive Shanghai, as saying that the investment did not come as a surprise. Terrafugia focuses on engineering, innovation and production of flying cars and on future technologies. This year it acquired a 49% stake in Malaysia's first vehicle company Proton. One of them is PAL-V., a Dutch company that had its design model unveiled by Prince Albert of Monaco during The Top Marques Supercar Show and that recently started the sales of its commercial models for delivery by the end of next year. The company has also developed "The Transition", pitched as the "first practical flying car".

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It said it was targeting 280,000 units of the model, to be assembled at the Proton plant in Tanjung Malim, for the Southeast Asian market.

In anticipation of this transaction, the Company's team of engineers has tripled over the past three months with Geely Holding's approval and with Geely being fully committed to investing further in the company and creating additional jobs after completion of the acquisition. The company is also the latest in a line of Geely's acquisitions outside its native China, including Volvo seven years ago as well as a more recent purchase of a 49.9% equity stake in Malaysian automaker Proton, and a 51% stake in British sports vehicle maker Lotus.

Terrafugia is a US company based in Woburn, Massachusetts, founded in 2006 by MIT graduates.

"The aircraft would be electric powered, avoiding all the noise and pollution typically associated with helicopters".


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