Geely to set foot in the local automotive market again.

If the brand Geely is familiar to you Filipino motorists, it’s because you may have encountered it years ago, although fleetingly. The Geely Panda, which does look like its namesake animal, was released in the local market in 2010. It didn’t make the expected impact and was pulled of the market a few years later. Initial reliability feedback was good, coupled with competitive pricing, but rumored poor after-sales support contributed to its demise.

A scale model of the Geely Panda (image by Earl Manalansan)

After almost a decade of absence, Geely Auto is poised to make comeback and join the now competitive automotive market. Now at the helm of  Sojitz Corporation, the Geely Coolray crossover SUV (yes, that is the name) is its initial offering, promising a new and revitalized brand, with matching support.

As an initial information effort, a select number of local automotive journalists, dealers and bankers were invited to China and see the whole assembly plant operation of the Geely Holdings Group. This is a timely decision; after all, it’s been a decade since we last heard of the brand.

China Plant Visit

Based in Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province in the Peoples Republic of China since its founding in 1986, with initial businesses in assembly plants, Zeijang Geely Holding Group (ZGH) entered the automotive industry in 1997, and has been focused on technological invention, expansion of talent and promoting sustainable development ever since.

The Ningbo Assembly plant, were we were first brought, was impressive to say the least. Technologically advanced robots did almost every facet of the assembly. Sure, some of the assembly steps, such as dash installations, weatherstripping and laying down of wire assemblies were still done by human hands, but the sheer magnitude of the operation was very impressive.

The transmission units were assembled in another plant located 2 hours away. The plant also boasts of automated assembly with minimal human interaction. Strict cleanliness protocols were observed–in fact; we were required to wear protective footwear plastic and helmets as we marched through designated walkways.

The point of this visit is to showcase the Geely Auto standards. Gone are the days of slow and low-tech type of assembly, which were more prone to human error. Now everything is done with precision, speed and technologically advanced equipment.

If this is the standard that the new Geely Coolray is based upon, then the local vehicle competitors will have their hands full.

The New Geely Coolray (image by Earl Manalansan)

An impressive family line of Geely

So, why the confidence in Geely Auto? Well for starters, ZGH acquired ownership of some world class brands, such as Volvo Cars, Lotus, PROTON, and even the famous London Electric Vehicle Company (makers of the ubiquitous British black taxis) to name a few. The engineering and technology of these companies have trickled down to Geely Auto, so you know that you’re in good hands.

Geely Auto is managed in the Philippines by Sojitz G Auto Philippines. Dealership and offices located at Edsa Corner Corregidor St., Bago Bantay, Project 7, Quezon City

Text by Earl Manalansan

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