Geely Automobile Group
Geely - is it an emerging Auto Giant ?
Ok lets be honest now! Who has heard of the Geely Automobile Group company, yes you heard right The Geely Auto company.
Hmm, oh yes over there>>. One hand up. I can see why you would have heard of Geely because you are from China.
Well I have a confession to make! I had never heard of Geely until the other night when I heard that Geely cars, starting with the Geely MK fitted a 1.5 litre engine, are now being sold here in Australia for an almost unbelievably low price.
I'll bet good money that Ford and General Motors have 'heard' of Geely! In fact Ford have had dealings with Geely already.
To give you some idea about Geely . it was the Geely Automotive Group that in 2010 bought the Volvo Car Corp from Ford Motor Company for a reported $2 billion. This was only a few years after Ford Motor Company had paid a reported $6 billion. I would say that was good buying?
Ford and General Motors
First lets consider whether Geely can cause headaches for the big players in the Automotive Industry, companies like Ford Motor Company and General Motors in particular.
Do Geely have clout? Maybe not yet but I am a firm believer that anything made in China that is given the backing of the Chinese Government with their seemingly new found love of Capitalism will succeed in any market that gets their attention.
Let me add that I'm not advocating this as a bad thing. I also believe that the 'big' companies like Ford, GM and some Japanese Auto Manufacturers have had it there own way for too long!
See the update below, it could be an interesting period in the Australian Motor Industry.
Geely MK Sedan
Now about the car: The initial vehicle being imported to Australia is the Geely MK compact (it is only available in WA) is being sold at a price making it Australia's lowest priced car, a tick under A$12,000 , and yes that is 'drive away'. The Dealer is offering the Geely MK with a factory supplied 5 year/100,000 km warranty.
The Geely MK comparable in size to the Toyota Yaris comes with a 1.5litre engine producing 95kW of power and a claimed 128Nm of torque, much more than the other low price contenders like the Proton.
At the time of writing the MK only comes with a 5-speed manual gearbox.
The safety features are minimal but the Geely MK must comply with the strict Australian Standards.
Geely to succeed in Australia ????
Will Geely succeed in Australia ? If past history is anything to go on I would say that long term it will definitely be a player and not a small one. In my opinion for Geely to be a large player in the Australian Auto Industry the bare minimum it will need to do is to set up a nation wide dealer network with state of the art workshops and all of the time earning the trust of the buying public by honoring its promised 5 year/100,000 km warranty. A time frame for this would be anything up to 5 years of hard work.
The man who is bringing the Geely MK car to Australia is definitely not your average used car dealer. He is John Hughes who is the man responsible for bringing the now highly successful Korean brand Hyundai to Australia. Hyundai is now Australia's 5th highest selling car manufacturer.
So they seem to be off to a good start!
Geely Automobile Group
Let me give you some idea about the Geely Company. As I said earlier Geely purchased Volvo from Ford in 2010, this is a very good fit with their other models as Volvo rates well in China and regarded more as a Luxury car. 'Savy' buying if you ask me!
Although I have seen other Chinese manufactured goods imported to Australia and fail due to bad 'factory' support I am of the opinion that the consequences of failure are too high for the Chinese Government to allow failure to be an option.
Geely Automobile Holdings as recent as last month have
stated again that they are planning to have a growth curve from 2010 to
2015 of 150% with annual sales in the region of 2million cars across
their range. All this and still promising to deliver a very healthy
profit in the region of US$30 billion.
Now that is what I call putting it on the line!
Progress of the Geely MK
From the few Press reports that I have read the Geely MK is not the most brilliant car in the world. I have heard that the brakes are not good !
What do you expect from the lowest priced car on the market. Well here are a few things that I come up with off the top of my head:
- First and foremost I would want reliability. A car that will get me from Point A to Point B safely and 100 % of the time.
- Not have my hand in my pocket seemingly 24/7 for servicing and fuel.
- Comfort comes in about now, although not looking for Rolls Royce comfort I would expect the car to cover a certain distance without my bum going numb!
- Bits not falling off the car all of the time. In other words a good build quality!
- If any problems did occur I would want the supplier to look after me with respect and honesty.
Although all of the above would be nice some may say 'tell him he's dreaming' even the big players like Ford Motor Company and General Motors don't deliver that do they?
Geely to make London Black Cabs
Update September 2013
The latest buzz about Geely is that they have now aquired the London Taxi maker Manganise Bronze Holding and are setting up to make 500 Black taxis for export to China.
The interesting sideline of this story is that the manufacture of these Black Cabs could be transferred to Australia. More news on this when available !