Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Geely Automobile

Geely is currently in talks to acquire the Saab unit of General Motors. Geely would gain Saab's safety technology along with an existing dealer network in Europe and the United States. The prototype model shown above and below is a Geely GT Tiger, which debuted at the 2008 Shanghai Motor Show.
Geely Automobile is a Chinese Automaker and is the first independent automobile manufacturer in the People's Republic of China. Geely started in 1986 manufacturing refrigerators, motorcycle parts in 1992. In 1994, Geely began manufacturing motorcycles. By 1996, Geely had produced over 200,000 motorcycles and scooters. Automobile production started in 1998. Geely began exporting its first cars in 2003.

Rolls Royce Motor Cars is considering legal action against Geely Automobile. Geely has a prototype GE, which apparently is a knockoff of the Rolls Royce Phantom. Rolls-Royce Motor Cars is very protective of its brand image and takes seriously any attempt to imitate it's products.
The grille, the Flying Lady mascot, also known as the Spirit of Ecstasy, and the Rolls Royce name and initials are specifically protected. The Rolls Royce Phantom starts at £250,000, the Geely GE anticipated sales price is £30,000.

Geely had planned to start selling car in North America in 2008, but after several test vehicles failed U.S. crash and emissions tests, Geely's delayed the debut until late 2009. Currently, Geely sells in Peru, Uruguay, Romanian, Pakistan, South Africa, Bangladesh, and Venezuela.
My take is that Geely will be a name to watch! The Chinese will come onto the world automotive stage shortly. China has a vast manufacturing base and will be a substantial competitor. Initially, they will compete based on price similarly to the Japanese models in the 1970's.
Their initial cars imported will be inexpensive due to the low Chinese labor costs. They have apparently eight different models in development up to the high end Geely GE, so they will eventually compete at all price points. Currently, they have not passed the safety requirements to sell cars in the U.S., I anticipate that will change in the near future.


  1. That we will do, keep our eye out for this car. Thank you for telling us about them.
    Dan and Deanna "Marketing Unscrambled"

  2. Hi Dan & Deanna,

    I am not excited about the Chinese entering the U.S. market! Their cars currently are substandard, but I would anticipate that given ten years or less they might be highly competitive.

    I am not a fan of the Chinese business practices either, so I would not buy one of their cars. This post was done to show how the automotive landscape is changing.

    China and India will be big players on the automobile stage shortly!

    Thank you for your comment!

    Pete Baca
    The Car Enthusiast Online

  3. Hi Pete,

    Nice post on Geely. I will also keep my eyes on them. I thought "Hong-Chi" was Chinese first original automobile. After that Vokswagen Santana and Hung-Dai Sonata started their production. I could be wrong. I appreciate your correcting me on that.

    Thank you for your post.
    Shaw Funami
    Fill the Missing Link

  4. Hi Pete - I might have to add the Geely to my parade of cars .. looks rather special ..

    However knowing that the safety elements aren't brilliant and the fact that Rolls Royce aren't happy about the engine .. I might rethink!

    Hilary Melton-Butcher
    Positive Letters

  5. Hi Hilary,

    The prototype is rather different....overall I think that the Chinese cars will not be up standard. But like the Japanese and Koreans they can catch up fast!

    The issue with Rolls is regarding the grill and the styling. Apparently, Rolls thinks that it is a direct knockoff. I suspect that they will end up in litigation.

    Those type of business practices do not earn my vote! Thanks for commenting!

    Pete Baca
    The Car Enthusiast Online

  6. Hi Shaw,

    Regarding Geely, I indicated that they were the first independent company in China...not owned by the government. They did not produce the first cars in China.

    What they are now doing is going to make them a world player! They are not the biggest in China in terms of production.

    They are in the process of trying to acquire both Saab and Volvo. Both cars are known for safety....and they both have networks of dealers. So, those acquisitions would give them substantially improved safety technology...and give them a existing marketing channel. Very smart strategic business moves!

    Thanks for your great question!

    Pete Baca
    The Car Enthusiast Online