Somerset-based car firm Ariel has formed a partnership with Quingdao Automotive to open a new production plant in the Eastern Chinese city of Quingdao.

The newly formed company, Quingdao Ariel Automotive, will oversee production of the Atom sports car, for sale to the Chinese market.

Over 200 orders have already been received for the stripped down super-car. They are identical to the UK spec cars, including the supercharged version, widely recognised as one of the fastest accelerating production cars in the world.

Ariel has been spurred on by success from a similar venture in the United States, where over 100 cars have been delivered to customers.

Ariel also has plans to construct a full size test track, for the purpose of putting locally sourced parts through their paces. Ariel has yet to confirm whether such an investment will lead to the development of new model lines.