Geely, along with other Chinese automakers, has long been the butt of jokes regarding automotive safety. This is justified by a disastrous crash test of a first-gen model, the Geely CK or Otaka, commissioned by a Russian magazine. But Geely is working hard to put those days behind them.
In January of 2011, Geely’s Emgrand EC7 scored 46.8 points and five stars in C-NCAP’s crash tests, the highest score by a local brand back then. Later that year, the Emgrand EC8 would break that record. With a score of 49.8 points, it became the 6th highest score overall out of 147 cars tested and edged many cars built by foreign JVs.
For those who dismiss C-NCAP’s results, there is Euro NCAP. In November of 2011, Geely’s Emgrand EC7 became the first Chinese car to attain a respectable four-star safety rating in Euro NCAP (although it was only the second Chinese car tested by the organization). At the time, Euro NCAP’s Secretary General Michiel van Ratingen said:
“These results mark a milestone for the Chinese automotive industry. It is a clear sign that Chinese car makers are building on recent experiences and rapidly investing in better vehicle safety. Even with the upcoming increased demands, five stars are expected to be within reach soon.”
To demonstrate this change in design philosophy, Geely brought to Beijing cars resembling dissected or exploded models showing their safety features. Safety, according to the brand, is now part of their DNA.
This sounds a lot like Volvo’s philosophy. The Swedish automaker, now owned by Geely, has a long history of meticulous, safety-minded engineering. But to remind those out there, the EC7 was a project started prior to the Volvo acquisition.
A thumbs up to Geely for their efforts, and here’s to hoping all Chinese brands start thinking like them.