Chinese automotive brand Geely unveils UK launch plans

Chinese car firm Geely Automobile has announced plans to roll out in the UK next year, with its first vehicles going on sale in January 2013.

Geely: unveils UK launch plans
Geely: unveils UK launch plans

Geely, which owns Scandinavian marque Volvo, is targeting the UK as its first market in Western Europe as part of plans to win over consumers across the continent. The first model to launch will be its Geely Emgrand EC7 four-door saloon.

The manufacturer has selected car production company Manganese Bronze Holdings (MBH), which produces London Black Taxis, as its UK distribution partner. MBH said it aims to launch with a retail chain of "30 to 40" dealerships.

According to marketing manager Maria Holmes, Geely will launch as an entry-level, "value-for-money" proposition similar to the strategy used by Korean marques Kia and Hyundai.

The company will principally use PR next year to generate awareness among car buyers, as well as business-to-business advertising.

No consumer marketing is planned until later in 2012. Geely is also preparing the launch of a consumer website, www.geelyauto.co.uk.

Matthew Cheyne, market development director of Geely Auto UK, said: "Much of the success of Geely Auto UK will depend upon the dealers we attract. They will help develop the brand and its growth.

"We intend to be different, more customer-focused and items such as the long warranty will be just part of an innovative total customer care package."

Read Marketing's analysis of the prospects for Chinese brands in the UK.

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