The Lotus press release (in full after the jump) gives few details about the lineup, but does say the first car to be developed would be a four door saloon. Work on that vehicle is expected to begin early next year.
Lotus is owned by Malaysian company Proton Holdings, which has worked with numerous other Chinese companies, including Chery, in the past.
UK FIRM AT HEART OF NEW CHINESE CAR COMPANY
Lotus Engineering will today announce its key role in the introduction of a new car company in China.
UK automotive engineering specialists, Lotus Engineering, will become the lead engineering and development consultant for Jinhua Youngman Automobile Manufacturing Co., Ltd. (Youngman) which is launching a new range of cars under a new brand name over the next five years.
Albert Lam, managing director of Lotus Engineering, said: "For the last two and a half years, Lotus Engineering has been working with Youngman on a number of projects. We have built an excellent working relationship based on trust and the shared values of entrepreneurship and innovation.
"It is on these foundations that we will be working with Youngman's engineers on the design and development of new vehicles to help them to establish their new brand in the Chinese automotive industry."
Youngman is a leading domestic commercial vehicle manufacturer and recently secured a licence from the Chinese authorities to produce passenger vehicles. Youngman's senior management has aggressive plans for their new brand in the domestic and export market and plans to have a full four-strong range of models in place within five years of the first launch.
Pang Qingnian, the chairman of Jinhua Youngman Automobile Manufacturing Co., Ltd., said: "Lotus Engineering is a globally recognised leader in automotive technology and vehicle engineering and in our recent work together we recognised its formidable professional capabilities. As a result Youngman identified Lotus Engineering as the ideal consultants to support the development of our new range of cars over the next five years.
"With our British friends we will produce passenger cars designed, engineered and built to exceptional standards. I have no doubt this prestigious collaboration will be a momentous step towards a glittering future for Youngman."
Lotus Engineering is one of only a few global engineering businesses that have the skills and expertise to manage turnkey, full vehicle engineering programmes from concept to production and is one of only two consultancy companies that also design, develop, manufacture and sell their own high quality cars to a global customer base (28 countries).
Development work on the first model for the new car producer, a four-door saloon, is due to start early in 2007 and will be carried out at Lotus Engineering's Hethel headquarters and at its other engineering centres around the world. It is expected that the development of further new models will lead to a range of cars benefiting from the expertise of Lotus Engineering.
Lotus Engineering is working with a number of clients in the fast-expanding Chinese and Indian markets. It opened a dedicated Chinese office three years ago and is planning on opening a similar office to serve clients in India in the next six months. As well as establishing an engineering centre in China, Lotus Engineering has a major European Technical Centre at its Hethel, UK headquarters dedicated to the Chinese automotive industry.