Wanxiang Seeking China’s Approval for Plant to Build Cars on Karma Platform

Karma Automotive owner Wanxiang Group has asked for Chinese government approval to build a plant manufacturing plug-in electrified vehicles (PEVs).

Wanxiang plans to build an electric car plant in Hangzhou, China, the city where the automotive components manufacturing company is headquartered. According to Bloomberg, the company filed an application for an environmental impact review, which is one of the steps companies will have to pass through before being granted permission to build a factory in China.

Wanxiang would be investing about 2.5 billion yuan ($375 million) to build the plant, which would have to capacity to manufacture 50,000 vehicles each year.

According to the filed application, Wanxiang will be producing cars at its new plant built on the vehicle platforms it acquired from Fisker Automotive in 2014. The filed plans include vehicles based on the Karma four-door plug-in hybrid luxury car and the Atlantic plug-in hybrid two-door sports coupe. Out of the 50,000 car production capacity, 39,000 have been earmarked for the Atlantic, according to the government filing.

Wanxiang currently manufactures car parts, but is hoping to receive approval from the Chinese government to expand into vehicle manufacturing. The government announced last year that will issue new production licenses to non-automakers.

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Wanxiang is one of the latest Chinese companies planning to manufacture PEVs through the government’s “new-energy vehicles” initiative offering incentives for manufacturers to build the cars and for consumers to buy them. Wanxiang may be well positioned to be granted the license with its expertise in producing major auto parts and through purchasing Fisker and battery supplier A123 Systems.

Wanxiang bought the bankrupt Fisker Automotive and has provided the financial backing to restart the company in the U.S. Karma Automotive is trying to reboot its image after Fisker failed to repay $139 million in U.S. government loans and filed for Chapter 11.

Wanxiang Group didn’t comment on the plan with Bloomberg. A representative for Zhejiang Environmental Protection Bureau told Bloomberg that the project hasn’t yet been approved.

Bloomberg