RAC Cars News


Geely coming to the UK

By raccars Published

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Chinese manufacturer Geely has announced plans to launch an SUV in Europe.

Geely is a well-known car manufacturer in its home territory of China, but in Europe the company is only really known as the owner of Volvo and The London Taxi Company. However Geely is now working on a plan to enter the European market under its own name, with an SUV which it hopes to have ready for 2018.

An SUV for Europe

The car will be designed in Europe to cater specifically to European sensibilities, before being built in China. Geely's head of design is a Brit, Peter Horbury, heading a design team located worldwide. Geely has design studios in Los Angeles, Barcelona and Gothenburg as well as Shanghai.

The SUV is being designed in Sweden and will apparently use the Compact Modular Architecture (CMA) platform also being used by the Volvo XC40 plus the new Volvo V Series and S40, together with a new compact SUV from the Swedish firm. European Geely branded vehicles are set to use a familiar range of Volvo-sourced engines, including three cylinder units based upon the Swedish firm's new 2.0 litre engines.

The Emgrand GS

At the Beijing Motor Show last month the Geely stand featured the Emgrand GS, an SUV which you could imagine finding buyers in Europe with its modern styling and a high quality finish. While Geely is planning to appeal to an international audience with the new SUV, it does plan to reference its Chinese heritage in the design.

As an example, the Emgrand GS's front grille is designed to show the spreading ripples of a pebble dropped into water. The speaker grilles also reference Chinese design motifs. Examine some of the chrome trim details in the cabin and you'll notice a naturalistic line as if drawn by a Chinese brush rather than the straight and even lines of a European marker pen. Geely is also planning a special lighting design for European models using a feather motif.

Since Horbury joined Geely four years ago he has placed a huge emphasis on design, taking the company's design workforce from four to a team of 350, with a variety of different nationalities represented. Horbury is trying to combine international design experience with modern Chinese ideas in a commercially viable way.

Who and what is Geely?

Geely is relatively new company, founded in 1986 on borrowed money to make refrigerators. As an automotive manufacturer, Geely was a pioneer in China, becoming a success while remaining independent of the state. The company began making cars in 2002 and a few years later begun a tentative exploration of the US and EU markets.

That plan stalled and Geely decided to take another approach to international expansion, by buying Volvo from Ford in 2010. In China the firm's Emgrand brand makes premium cars and Geely now sells its vehicles in a number of international territories in South America, Africa, Eastern Europe and Australasia. Geely cars are used as tourist taxis and police patrol vehicles in Cuba.

While the Chinese market has dipped recently, Geely has managed to buck this trend by reporting sales growth of 22 per cent over the past year, and earnings at Volvo have gone up threefold.

Industry rumour suggests that the SUV will be just the first in a new brand of European cars from Geely. Volvo will function as the company's premium brand and the new cars will sit below the Swedish firm in price and style. The CMA platform could also be used for a saloon model.

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