Geely to add five new cars a year

(China Daily/Agencies)
Updated: 2008-01-16 09:29

Geely Holdings Group Co, the Chinese maker of $5,000 compacts, will add five new models a year, including sedans, until 2010 because of faster-growing demand for larger cars in the world's second largest auto market.

The carmaker will also raise its annual production capacity in China to 1.7 million vehicles by 2015, Vice-President Zhao Fuquan said at the Detroit motor show yesterday. China's largest privately controlled carmaker can currently make 300,000 cars a year, according to its website.

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Geely plans to add larger models and to boost sales overseas as Chinese drivers, enriched by stock market gains, shun compacts in favor of more expensive cars. The company's Hong Kong-listed unit missed its vehicle sales target in 2007 for at least the second year in a row.

The carmaker is planning to open plants in Europe and southern Africa, Zhao said at the North American International Automobile Show. He declined to provide more details. Earlier this week, the company said it will set up an assembly venture in Mexico to serve markets in the Americas, including the US.

Geely's new models this year will include a five-door hatchback KingKong compact and a 1.8-liter China Dragon sports car based on its Beauty Leopard model. It will also add a 1-liter compact named the Panda in the local market.

The company's Geely Automobile Holdings Ltd unit sold 186,000 vehicles last year, an increase of more than 20 percent, Geely Chairman Li Shufu said earlier this week. The unit cut its sales target to 190,000 in September. It aims to boost vehicle sales 18 percent this year to 220,000, Li added.

Geely expects to export 1.3 million vehicles a year by 2015 compared with about 30,000 last year. The company now operates factories in Russia, Ukraine and Indonesia, assembling vehicles from component kits.

The automaker and unidentified partners will make an initial investment of $500 million in the Mexican plant, which will eventually have a capacity of 300,000 vehicles a year.

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