Volvo (Sweden)
Lotus (UK) - 51%
Proton (Malaysia) - 49.9%
Shanghai LTI (China) - 51% (produces London Taxis)
Geely, Gleagle, Emgrand, Englon, Lynk&Co, Lotus
Location Headquarters: Hangzhou
R&D center: Linhai
Main assembly plants: Ningbo (Free Cruiser, EC7), Luqiao (Kingkong, SC5, SC6),
Linhai (Panda, GX2), Xiangtan (Vision, SC7, GC7), Chengdu (GX7, GX9), Jinan (EC8), Lanzhou (Free Cruiser, SC3).
Sales figures
Sales (excluding Volvo):
2017: 1,247,116 units
2016: 765,851 units
2015: 509,863 units
2014: 417,851 units
2013: 549,468 units
2012: 483,483 units
2011: 421,611 units
2010: 415,843 units
2009: 326,710 units
2008: 204,205 units
2007: 181,517 units
2006: 164,495 units
2005: 133,041 units
2004: 96,693 units
2003: 76,274 units
2002: 47,800 units

2016 sales by model:
Panda: 7,178 units
Kingkong: 63,413 units
Vision: 137,687 units
Emgrand EC7: 240,962 units
Emgrand GL: 30,037 units
GC9: 51,828 units
GX7: 15,298 units
Vision SUV: 49,447 units
Emgrand GS: 60,521 units
Boyue: 109,209 units
TX4: 1,300 units

Introduction Geely is quite a legend at its home. It was the first privately-owned car maker in China, unlike its state-owned rivals. Born as a small company, it grew quickly by its own effort and went listed on the Hong Kong stock exchange. Without forming any joint-ventures with foreigners, Geely always emphasizes that it developed its cars and technology by itself, although many of its early cars did immitate foreign cars.

Apart from the Geely brand, it has created sub-brands Gleagle (dynamic brand), Emgrand (premium brand) and Englon (mainly produces London taxi). However, they helped little promoting the sales of its cars thus will be phased out by 2017. The smartest decision in recent years has to be the acquisition of Volvo, which not only contributes profit but also R&D power to Geely.
Brief History
The Geely factory was founded by enterprizer Li Shufu in 1986, initially produced refrigerators, then decoration materials, scooters and eventually entered car production business in 1997. The earliest Geely cars were clones of Daihatsu Charade, licensed by Tianjin Xiali (which had a JV with Daihatsu).

In 2003, Geely developed the first car by itself, Beauty Leopard. It was a 2+2 coupe whose odd appearance and poor performance contradicted with its name. However, history will remember that it was the first coupe developed by a Chinese manufacturer.

Beauty Leopard (2003)

In order to raise its game, Geely hired Korean engineering consultants headed by Daewoo International (not Daewoo motors) to develop its next generation mass production models, Free Cruiser (2005) and King Kong (2006). They gradually replaced the cheap Daihatsu Charade-based models and lifted Geely to an independent car maker in its own right. Meanwhile, through technology transfer and acquisition, Geely got the know-how of building modern VVT engines and automatic transmission. By the late 2000s, it had basically established its own R&D capability.

Vision (2007)

Nevertheless, the fast progress was associated with criticisms that it copied others - its Vision sedan was clearly a clone to Toyota Corolla, while its GE luxury limousine was even a downsized version of Rolls-Royce Phantom. It would take some years to clean its image.

In 2010, Geely surprised the world by taking over Volvo from Ford. Volvo brought valuable expertise in design, engineering and quality control, which helped developing Geely's new global brand, Lynk&Co. In 2017, Geely added Lotus to its collection from the hands Proton.

Copyright© 1997-2018 by Mark Wan
Return to AutoZine home page