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Lotus Engineering working closely with Chinese automakers

Zhejiang-based Jinhua Qingnian Automobile Group, Lotus Engineering and Guizhou Aviation Industry Group signed a three-way agreement on November 18 at Auto China to collaborate on future passenger car development.


 


This cooperation is significant for the development of the Chinese automotive industry,” said CEO and owner Pang Qingnian.


 


Representatives from the three companies revealed few specific details at the signing ceremony, but Pang said Lotus would help Qingnian design a car.


 


We will work with the government to establish new brands in the Chinese industry,” said Albert Lam, CEO of Lotus Engineering, adding that the UK-based company was only “weeks away” from introducing a hybrid vehicle.


 


State-owned Guizhou Aviation Industry Group, which has an official passenger car production license, will also play a key role in the partnership.


 


I’m sure we will produce quality products,” said Guizhou chairman Tan Weidong.


In addition to its new project with Jinhua Qingnian, Lotus Engineering is working closely with Nanjing Automobile Group, China’s 13th largest automaker, to use the equipment it bought from the bankrupt MG Rover in England to make three different engines and the MGF Roadster.


 


The three engines that can be made on the transfer line are a four-cylinder 135 hp naturally aspirated inline four-cylinder, a 160 hp turbocharged version, and a 2.5 L V6. John Birkmyre and Andrew Green, of the Lotus Engineering powertrain division, said the project is in good condition, the engine line is running, and that the MGF Roadster will soon arrive on the market.


 


Birkmyre said that while his specialty was powertrain, most of Lotus’ work in China is on NVH and ride and handling. He said that the Chinese engineers he works with are learning that those areas are “not a black art, but a science. Compared to Europe they have a long way to go, but the realization is coming. Their engineers are clever.”


Nanjing has been suffering this year, with sales down 2 percent in a market that has grown by 26 percent through September. Nanjing also has a partnership with Fiat for passenger cars.

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