The UK has become the target landing ramp for several Chinese automotive manufacturers, MG was of course the first to land in the UK, but Greatwall and now Geely are poised to enter the British marketplace with the Emgrand EC7 leading the charge.
The Emgrand EC7 was recently awarded a 4 star Euro NCAP crash test award that puts it on par with some of the more famous auto brands on the market in the UK, specifically the Jeep, Jaguar, Fiat and MG models which is a stark contrast to other Chinese models which routinely gained zero stars in crash tests organized by ADAC.
For the UK market Geely has teamed up with Manganese Bronze, the taxi manufacturer which also has a joint venture with Geely to develop and produce the TX range of cabs for the UK and international markets. TX4 cabs now roll off a Shanghai production line and are sent to the UK for final assembly and sales, which makes the TX4 one of the first Chinese cars sold in the UK in an ironic twist of fate.
Geely is aiming to set up a new style of dealer network which will see dealers becoming partners in the company and will have a greater say in which products Geely will bring to market rather than a stereotypical manufacturer-dealer relationship where new products are dictated down. Geely UK’s International Director, Matthew Cheyne, believes that Geely will offer the UK car market a different sort of car, initially the Emgrand EC7 will come with a 1.5L or 1.8L gasoline engine, and will retail in the Â£10,000 area when launched in a years time, Mr. Cheyne said “ We see Geely as an added value brand that will offer customers more than just a cheap car. The quality is good with Euro Ncap 4 star rating, we will offer a market leading customer care package and really listen to our dealers and customers. Geely won’t sell on price alone but will occupy the place in the UK market that has been vacated by other brands as they have moved up the price scale. We will be good value, good quality and no hidden extras or nasty surprises. Good honest quality and value and a brand that makes people feel valued and listened to.”
So what do UK consumers think of a Chinese car? According to Matthew early consumer feedback has been very positive “The early feedback has been uniformly good. “At the right price I would buy it.” People like the spaciousness you get from the larger car but at a smaller car price. Standard equipment is what they expect and the drive, ride and handling is comparable with all the competitors.”
Initially only the EC7 will be launched with a gasoline only engine but a diesel will likely come at a later date along with some of Geely’s other vehicles including the hatchback variant of the EC7 and probably some of Geely’s soon to launch MPV and SUV offerings.