If the hybrid automobile game is changing, the Chinese automakers will be the first in line to grab as many customers as possible. It cannot be ignored that most of the products have had quite a challenging reputation and Chinese goods (including cars) haven’t really been the most reliable objects that were worth the money spent.
Enter Geely or otherwise known as Zhejiang Geely holding group Co., Ltd that is a Chinese multinational automobile manufacturing company that is headquartered in Hangzhou, Zhejiang, China. The company’s principal products are automobiles, taxis, motorcycles, engines as well as transmissions. The company sells passenger cars by the name Geely and Volvo brands and taxis under the London taxi brand. This is not an ordinary company, it has owned the Swedish passenger carmaker Volvo cars since 2010 when it acquired the company from Ford.
The name Geely means “Auspicious” or “lucky” in Mandarin (Chinese)
The company was founded in 1986 as a refrigerator maker with money that was borrowed from his family. The founder; Li Shufu transformed the fate of this company into a successful selling inexpensive brand to its Chinese customers. Till the year 2003, the company remained only a domestic car manufacturer to lack ties to the Chinese state. During this time, another independent automaker named BYD Auto was rising and this was burdening the competition. Geely Motors had later purchased a failing state run firm that manufactured motorcycles in the mid 1900’s. It later started a small van production and a year later, it received state approval to manufacture automobiles and that subsequently lead to car production in 2002. The company later approached Ford during 2008 regarding a possible takeover of Volvo Cars. On October 28, 2009, it was named as the preferred buyer of Volvo by the American automaker. The year 2010 was quite fruitful and the total sale of this went over 415,000 units. But later, the sales were lower than half a million units per year. In December 2011, it was announced that Geely would begin selling Chinese-designed and -manufactured cars in the U.K.
The company has begun a new brand by the name of Lynk & Co brand in Germany. This is a compact SUV that is aimed at taking on the likes of manufacturers like BMW and Mercedes Benz. Starting off its sales from the year 2017, the company will begin its sales in Eurpoe and USA in 2018.
A British designer named Peter Horbury who headed design and operations at Volvo in the 90’s has refined the Geely car’s design. In fact, he had overseen this for brands like Jaguar, Aston martin, Ford and various other brands from the year 2002. Geely is currently upping the competitive pressure on established global carmakers that have long accused Chinese rivals of merely ripping off their designs. Jaguar land Rover (JLR) had sued China’s Jiangling Motor after it released the Landwind X7 SUV in the year 2014, the car that JLR copied the Land Rover Evoque while costing around just 1/3rd of the price.
The car is a hybrid powered 1.5-litre 3-cylinder petrol engine combined with a lithium-ion battery and electric motor. This is the first car that is based on the Complex Modular Architecture platform developed by Geely as well as Volvo. This is definitely making Mercedes (a unit of Daimler) as well as BMW investing loads on hybrid vehicles and trying to promote hybrid cars. Geely claims that the car would be priced competitively and says that it would be fixed across all markets (although the details aren’t out yet)
Enter Smart phones:
The company is launching the ‘01’model in Berlin soon. Alain Visser, senior vice president at Lynk & Co, described the SUV as “our first smart phone on wheels.”
The company is targeting tech-savvy customers that may have prioritized flexibility over car ownership in the past. “We are looking very much at millennial consumers all over the world who are very much concentrated around bigger cities,” he said.
Lynk has more models in its line-up, which the carmaker plans to launch over the next 3-5 years, but Visser declined to give details on body styles or launch dates apart from the name of the next car: ’02’.
Once the full line-up is launched, Lynk aims to sell more than 500,000 vehicles a year by 2021. Let’s hope that the company does something that changes the view on Chinese automobiles and ups its sales in the forthcoming years.