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15 November 2017, 04:24 | Joann Bryant
China's Geely buys US startup that makes 'flying cars'
Terrafugia was founded in 2006 by a group of graduates from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and has set itself a goal of delivering its first flying auto by 2019 and then a vertical take-off and landing vehicle (VTOL) to market by 2023.
Today, Zhejiang Geely Holding Group, owner of Volvo Car, announced that it has reached an agreement with Terrafugia Inc.to acquire the activities and assets of the USA company.
According to The Verge, Terrafugia's flying vehicle model, named Transition, a road-ready prop plane with retractable wings, received approval from the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in 2012, essentially making it street-legal there.
President of Geely said that in order to implement the mentioned project has been bought by American firm Terrafugia, founded by graduates of mit. The takeover deal has already been cleared by the United States committee on foreign investment (CIFIUS). Geely already tripled its team of engineers in anticipation of the transaction.
The price tag of the acquisition has not been disclosed, but Geely will acquire all outstanding shares and appoint three board members including Nathan Yu Ning, its vice president of worldwide business. He will also serve as one of the board of directors.
The company's other prototype model, named TF-X, features retractable wings that allow the aircraft to take off and land vertically like a helicopter, The Verge said in a report.
"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. Dietrich will remain in the company as chief technology officer, a newly created position, after the acquisition. After buying Volvo Cars and investing in Lotus Cars, Geely Holding eyes a nascent market that could grow exponentially in the following years as autonomous technologies mature.
However, the company did not disclose any financial details concerning the deal, The China Daily newspaper reported today.
'Our investment in the company reflects our shared belief in their vision and we are committed to extending our full support to Terrafugia, leveraging the synergies provided by our worldwide operations and track record of innovation, to make the flying vehicle a reality'.
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