Flying vehicle company Terrafugia bought by China's Geely

Flying vehicle company Terrafugia bought by China's Geely

The parent company of Volvo, Geely Holding Group Co., was rumoured to be looking at the 11-year old flying vehicle start-up back in July, today though comes confirmation that the Chinese group had made the purchase.

Not so for Terrafugia, whose flying cars look like cars and are also entirely roadworthy, converting in an instant as large wings fold out to allow passengers to soar through the sky.

Under the terms of the agreement, Terrafugia will remain based in its Boston, MA, headquarters and will continue to focus on its current mission to develop flying cars. It's also hiring some big guns.

Chris Jaran, Terrafugia's newly appointed CEO, said the expansion of the company's R&D capabilities would be prioritized, according to Xinhuanet.

In anticipation of this transaction, the Company's team of engineers has tripled over the past three months with Geely Holding's approval and with Geely being fully committed to investing further in the company and creating additional jobs after completion of the acquisition.

Terrafugia was set up by graduates from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2006. The company expects to deliver it to the market in 2023. While it still requires a runway for takeoff and landing, Terrafugia has a more advanced design known as the Transition TF-X that promises vertical takeoff and landing and even better performance.

It said it was targeting 280,000 units of the model, to be assembled at the Proton plant in Tanjung Malim, for the Southeast Asian market.

The US-based company unveiled the Transition in 2012 with a base price of $279,000 at the time, and received Federal Aviation Administration certification past year.

To help bring the "flying" side of flying vehicle to fruition, it has also brought on board Bell Helicopter China's former managing director, while Terrafugia's founder Carl Dietrich will become its Chief Technology Officer.

If Geely's ambition is to beat Uber (and everyone else) to the very prestigious flying auto punch by offering such a service, it may have found the flawless halo to showcase its capabilities. And Mercedes-Benz parent company Daimler has invested in German flying taxi startup Volocoptor, while Uber is working with NASA to develop a flying taxi service of its own.