Volvo owner buys flying-car maker Terrafugia
NEW YORK—Rather than just put more vehicles on the world’s congested roadways, Volvo Cars owner Zhejiang Geely Holding Group Co. is looking to the skies.
The Chinese automaker has acquired a U.S. company trying to bring a flying car to market in 2019. Terrafugia Inc., founded by five graduates of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, also plans to deliver the first vertical-takeoff-and-landing car by 2023.
Following the deal, which Geely says has been approved by all relevant regulators, Terrafugia will stay headquartered in the U.S. The acquisition pits Geely founder Li Shufu against billionaires including Google co-founder Larry Page in the race to get flying-car startups off the ground.
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Terrafugia flew its first proof-of-concept vehicle in 2009, according to its website. Geely didn’t disclose the terms of the acquisition in an emailed statement. The company said Chris Jaran, a former executive at aircraft manufacturer Bell Helicopter China, would become Terrafugia’s chief executive officer effective immediately.
“The support that Geely has pledged to make Terrafugia’s vision of a flying car a commercial reality is unprecedented,” Jaran said in the statement.