Internationalization of the Geely Brand

By staff reporter LI WUZHOU

A test car drives through a rolling Middle Eastern desert. Negotiating a sharp turn at 170 km/h, the car, due to a lapse by the driver, lurches and twists, and comes to a stop badly wrecked. Spectators rush to the rescue, expecting the worst for the four people inside. Amazingly, apart from the front-seat passenger who suffers a dislocated shoulder, all three others are pulled out unscathed.

“That’s the car we’re looking for!” cries the Saudi dealer among the spectators. Soon a deal is signed with the manufacturer Zhejiang Geely Holding Group Co., Ltd.  Saudi Arabia is now the company’s largest market in the Middle East.

Geely (ji li) means “bliss” in Chinese. The company believes high quality is first and foremost in bringing motoring bliss to its drivers and passengers. 


Rebuilding the Made-in-China Brand

“Some of our models such as Emgrand EC7 boast a higher safety index than better-known foreign brands. That’s one of the factors increasingly recognized by the international market,” said Geely’s Chief Public Relations Officer Yang Xueliang.  Starting in August 2013, Geely products were exempted from export inspection – the only family sedan brand with this privilege in China.

Such an honor is fabulous for a company that produced its first complete car, manually, only 17 years ago. Geely is now one of the top 10 carmakers in China, and stands out among domestic brands with its unrivaled export growth, which has remained strong despite the global market downturn. Last year, when the overall exports of most Chinese auto brands were largely on par with 2012, Geely notched up a 20 percent growth for the first 11 months (December data unavailable at the time of writing), with its Embrand topping the export charts for a single domestic car model.

With Geely increasingly talked about in the international media, the company has become the new public face of China’s auto industry, as well as of its whole manufacturing industry.

When leading Geely into the auto industry, Geely President Li Shufu aspired to nothing more than producing affordable cars for the average Chinese driver. But with this goal seemingly achieved – the introduction of its low-priced models catalyzing a price war in the domestic auto market – the Geely company began to think bigger, aiming to build the world’s safest cars. It has continued to move steadily toward this goal.

Geely CK has passed the top-impact tests in the U.S.A., the first Chinese car to achieve this. Its independently developed Panda cars scored 45.3 out of 51 in the C-NCAP (China-New Car Assessment Program) evaluation, the highest for Chinese cars, winning it a five-star rating. Its Embrand EC7, another independently developed model, rated four stars by Euro-NCAP, becoming the first Chinese car model certified by an authoritative European safety rating institution.

“All facts testify to the success of our strategic transformation. We are steering in the right direction,” declared Li Shufu last June.


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