China’s Geely acquires US flying-car startup Terrafugia

Chinese billionaire Li Shufu’s Zhejiang Geely Holding Group has completed the acquisition of Terrafugia Inc, a US-based company for an undisclosed sum, according to a statement.

Founded in 2006, Terrafugia aims to develop a mass-market flying car.

Upon completion of the deal, Terrafugia will remain headquartered in the US and continue to focus on its existing mission of developing flying cars, a statement from the US firm 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,” said Li Shufu, founder and chairman of Zhejiang Geely Holding Group.

The company aims to deliver its first flying car, which will operate much like an aeroplane today, to the market in 2019 and plans to launch the first flying car with VTOL (vertical take-off and landing) by 2023.

As part of the deal, Geely has appointed a new CEO — Chris Jaran, former Managing Director for Bell Helicopter China — at Terrafugia. In addition, the US company will now have a new board of directors led by Geely Holding’s Vice President of International Business, Nathan Yu Ning, who assumes the position of Terrafugia chairman.

Geely Holdings has made several investments in the US through its subsidiary Volvo Cars. It has invested over $1 billion from 2015 to 2017 towards a new full car producing facility in South Carolina which is expected to produce 100,000 cars per year.

In May, Geely Holdings announced it was buying Malaysia’s unprofitable national carmaker Proton Holdings Bhd.

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