Group Lotus owner snaps up flying vehicle maker

Chairman Li Shufu has made sure Geely can check all the boxes from autonomy to urban mobility

Terrafugia remains in the USA, but will team up with Geely Holding's own engineering resources.

Under the terms of the agreement, Terrafugia will remain based in its Boston, MA, headquarters and will continue to focus on its current mission to develop flying cars.

It said Terrafugia, which was formed by five graduates of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2006, had managed to sell a few units of Transition at US$279,000 (RM1.17 million) each. Although the company will be under the wing of the Chinese, it will maintain autonomy over its major research and development capabilities and production facilities, while looking to synergize with Geely in accelerating development.

The takeover deal has already been cleared by the U.S. committee on foreign investment (CIFIUS).

"This type of VTOL (vertical take-off and landing) technology is seen as fundamental to the creation of an aerial taxi service, as envisioned by Uber and others", it said. Chris Jaran, former managing director for Bell Helicopter China, was also appointed as a board member and will take over as CEO.

Flying cars may soon become a reality - and not only for eccentric billionaires but also for a much larger public, as a major vehicle holding from China is investing in the USA company to develop a mass-market product it hopes to launch as soon as 2019.

"Now as part of Geely Holding Group I am confident that we can reach that vision and subsequent commercial success by utilising the Group's shared global synergy", he added. We are committed to extend our full support to Terrafugia, leveraging the synergies provided by our global operations and our state track record of innovation to make the flying vehicle a reality.

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

The stock market responded positively to the news.

Head of the Chinese engineering company Geely An Cuihai announced plans automaker for the foreseeable future. It closed the day at HK$28.2, or 6.4% higher than Monday. Therefore, the Chinese will create a first flying auto.

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