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Three Chinese Automakers Expect to be Global Players

Industry official predicts exports to emerging markets.

by on Oct.16, 2014

The Geely Gleagle is one of the products that makes Chinese government officials believe three Chinese automakers will be globally influential.

China’s fast-growing automobile industry should be able to create at three strong globally competitive carmakers in the years to come, according to a Chinese government official this week.

Wang Xia, a senior official with the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade Automotive sub-council, acknowledged during a press conference prior to the opening of the Global Automotive Forum in Wuhan, China, that China’s homegrown auto industry has been rocked over the last several months by a steady loss of marketshare.

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Up until about two years ago, Chinese brands held about 46% of the domestic sales across China. Since then, the Chinese domestic brands have lost about 10 points of marketshare to foreign brands. The big winners have been European brands as well as General Motors and Ford. (more…)

Volvo May Begin Importing Cars from China in 2015

S60L would target the U.S., while XC90 would be shipped to Russia.

by on Jun.17, 2014

Volvo recently unveiled a plug-in hybrid verson of the S60L at the 2014 Beijing Auto Show.

Volvo may soon become the first major automaker to start selling Chinese-made cars in the United States.

Now owned by Chinese domestic automaker Geely, Volvo is determined to reverse several years of slumping sales, even as it ramps up production at a new factory in Geely’s home town of Chengdu. The Swedish brand is in the midst of rolling out an assortment of new products and, according to a Reuters report, could begin shipping a long-wheelbase version of its S60 sedan to the U.S. by late 2015.

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Senior Geely and Volvo officials had hinted of their interest in exporting to the U.S. during a visit by TheDetroitBureau.com to the new Volvo Chengdu plant in 2013, but at the time they had not set a hard date on such plans.

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Asian Makers Battling to be London’s Black Taxi of Choice

Nissan, Geely gearing up to put cabs on city’s streets.

by on Jan.08, 2014

Nissan unveiled its version of the iconic black London Taxi. It's taking on Geely, which took over the London Taxi Co. last year, in the market.

Replacing an icon is always a serious challenge in the car business but that hasn’t stopped Nissan.

The Japanese automaker has unveiled version of the London Taxi, which is specifically designed to try to replace the iconic black cabs that have long carried fares around London. It also sets up a potential dual with a Chinese rival, which purchased the rights to the old London Taxi Co. last year.

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China’s Geely Group acquired The London Taxi Co. in February 2013 and resumed production of the iconic black cab beginning in September. Geely’s takeover of London Taxi came just a year after the firm collapsed. Geely promised to invest £150million, or nearly $250 million, during the next five years, including £80m, or more than $130 million, into research and production of the new hybrid TX5 model. (more…)

Chinese Car Sales Rebound – Slightly

But market’s long growth curve now less certain.

by on Jul.13, 2012

The Geely Gleagle at the recent Beijing Motor Show.

Gaining momentum after a painfully slow start to 2012, Chinese car sales rose by 9.9% last month, according to the country’s automotive trade association.

The market was particularly strong for makers such as Honda, recovering from last year’s production cuts which were caused by Japan’s March 2011 earthquake and tsunami. But Ford Motor Co. also saw a sharp 28% surge, giving the maker its third consecutive record sales month.

“We are very pleased to serve our Chinese customers and are very grateful that the all-new Ford Focus—the first of 15 new vehicles we are bringing to China by 2015—has been chosen by so many,” said Dave Schoch, chairman and CEO of Ford China.

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The industry has been watching closely to see if spring would bring a much-hoped-for turnaround after a dismal first quarter where sales briefly declined, year-over-year.  That was an unheard-of phenomenon in a market that, over the last decade, has seen annual sales grow at astronomical levels, nearing triple-digits in some years, and “only” posting growth of 20% or more in weaker years.

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China Auto Exports Top 1 Million

Makers like Geely, Chery, sidestep U.S. and Europe for emerging markets.

by on Jan.19, 2012

Chinese automakers are rapidly increasing exports. Honda will soon use its Chinese factory to produce the small Fit for Canada.

While the final sales and production numbers from 2011 are still being tallied one new numbers is bound to catch attention of executives and analysts from Tokyo, to Stuttgart and Detroit.

Chinese automakers exported more than 1 million finished vehicles to markets all around the world, according to new data coming out of the Asian nation. Chinese carmakers, however, have bypassed the big “Triad” markets in North America, Europe and Japan and have instead focused on exporting vehicles to emerging markets in Africa, South America, the Middle East and South Asia.

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That could change, however, as Honda has announced plans to export some of its Chinese-made Fit subcompacts to Canada, while Geely has set up a U.S. headquarters in Los Angeles that could be followed by a small number of imports this year.  Nonetheless, it appears the Chinese are betting their best opportunity will come from emerging markets.

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Chinese Car Sales Boom Keeps Even Weakest Makers Afloat

Government still hopes for a shake-out of domestic brands.

by on May.02, 2011

Geely - its IG Concept shown here - is considered one of the likely winners in a shake-out of Chinese domestic automakers.

The long-awaited consolidation of the Chinese auto industry is on hold.

While foreign brands, like Buick, Volkswagen and Toyota, may get much of the attention, there are hundreds of smaller, domestic automakers vying for attention and the dollars of China’s new automotive buying class.

Government leaders – along with those foreign makers and industry analysts — have been hoping to see a shake-out of some of the least viable of those home-grown brands.  But like the bumblebee, the structurally unwieldy and inefficient Chinese auto industry continues to fly.

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The fact is the boom in car sales over the last three years has bolstered the cash flow of smaller, weaker companies that have blossomed over the years and which continue to sell cars and trucks in sufficient numbers to continue to operate, according to western executives familiar with the rapid growth of the Chinese market. None of the smaller companies have more than 2% to 3% of the market but with Chinese sales topping 18 million last year, and expected to surge past 20 million in 2011, the volume is sufficient to stay in business.

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Ford’s Farley Gets Key Global Assignment

Odell leaving Volvo for Ford of Europe.

by on Jul.15, 2010

Ford's global marketing chief, Jim Farley, now adds global sales and service responsibilities to his portfolio.

Ford has announced a number of senior management changes that, among other things, will give it a global sales, service and marketing czar, for the first time, and a new boss in Europe.

A one-time rising star at Toyota, 48-year-old Jim Farley has been serving a variety of marketing roles since moving to Michigan three years ago.  He is currently group vice president of global marketing, while also running Ford’s operations in Canada, Mexico and South America.

In his new role, Farley drops operational responsibilities but he picks up the added duties of overseeing global sales and service.  Effective August 1, it will be the first time a single executive has handled all three operations on a global basis.

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At the same time, Eduardo Serrano, 50, will become executive director of all Ford Latin American operations.  He is currently president and CEO of Ford of Mexico.  Canadian operations will be handled by David Mondragon, currently president of Ford of Canada.

If there’s any significant surprise in today’s announcement, it’s that Stephen Odell will remain with Ford, taking over as chairman and CEO of Ford of Europe.  Since October 2008, the British-born executive had been president of Volvo Cars, the Swedish marque Ford is selling to the Chinese.

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Change Coming for Volvo – But How Much?

Chinese owners certain to play with “new toy.”

by on Jan.18, 2010

Even after a takeover by Geely, models like the XC70 will remain the heart of the Volvo line-up, asserts CEO Stephen Odell.

Like a kid after Christmas, expect to see the Chinese automaker Geely “play” with its “new toy,” should its planned acquisition of Volvo Cars go through, said the Swedish maker’s top executive.

New production operations in China, as well as a Asian design and engineering center are most likely to follow Ford’s planned sale of its Volvo subsidiary, according to CEO Stephen Odell.  But the long-time Ford executive said he believes Geely will largely hold course with its new global brand.

Late last month, Ford confirmed long-standing rumors, revealing that it had reached agreement, “on all substantive terms,” with Zhejiang Geely Holding Group, one of the strongest and most ambitious of China’s independent automakers.

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The proposed sale should be completed by the second quarter of this year, Odell predicted, during an interview with TheDetroitBureau.com.  The transfer would come at a critical time for Volvo, which has been hit hard, over the last several years, by the global recession and problems more particular to the brand.

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Chinese Near to Volvo Purchase From Ford

Zhejiang Geely will likely complete the buy next year.

by on Dec.23, 2009

How much of Volvo will remain in Europe?

Ford Motor Company [NYSE: F] and Zhejiang Geely Holding Group Company Limited have agreed on “all substantive commercial terms” regarding the potential sale of Volvo Car Corporation.

The announcement comes as General Motors is in the process of closing  bankrupt Saab, the other Swedish car company, unless yet another purchaser comes forth, an extremely unlikely prospect during the ongoing Great Recession.

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If the legal documentation, financing and government approvals are forthcoming as expected, closing of the sale is likely to occur later in 2010, ensuring some sort of survival — at least in name — for part of the foundering Swedish car business.

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First Look: Volvo S60

Safety and style from the Swedish maker are coming next year.

by on Nov.10, 2009

The perennial quest to make Volvos sportier goes on.

The perennial quest to make sportier Volvo models continues at Geneva.

Here are the first official pictures of the “all-new” Volvo S60, which the company claims is sportier and more dynamic than any previous Volvo model.

It carries over the themes of the existing car and, as is the trend, raises the beltline and cuts down on the glass area.

The S60 is being unveiled to the public for the first time at the Geneva Motor Show in early March next year. Production of the sporty sedan model will start in early summer 2010 at the Volvo Cars plant in Ghent, Belgium.

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The S60 can be equipped with Pedestrian Detection – a potentially important safety feature that can detect pedestrians in front of the car and brake automatically if the driver does not react in time. It is currently in testing in Europe.

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