Expected price: 55,300 to 59,300 yuan ($8,667 to $9,295)
Early last year, Geely came up with the new moniker "Englon Automobile" for Shanghai LTI, its joint venture with Manganese Bronze Holdings, and dropped the motto "The London Taxi Company" from its emblem. Thus the newly coined Englon, or Yinglun in Chinese pinyin (an old phonetic rendering of "England"), officially joined the Geely collection of linguistic oddities, which already includes "Gleagle" and "Emgrand."
This new brand is intended to tap the mid-priced segment, with Gleagle focusing on the entry-level market and Emgrand made for more affluent buyers.
Created by Italian automobile designer Giorgetto Giugiaro, the SC5-RV is a small, sporty hatchback targeting young urban Chinese.
The model is nothing like the black cab-styled TX4, which the Geely subsidiary has been building since 2008 and selling in Britain.
The SC5-RV is available in two trims, both equipped with a 69-kilowatt 1.5-liter engine and a five-speed manual transmission. With a 2.46-meter wheelbase and 3.9-meter body length, the SC5-RV does not intend to size up its rivals, like the 1.5-liter Chery Fulwin hatchback, the BYD F3R, or the Brilliance FRV. Instead, it endeavors to win young drivers by offering better handling, a more handsome look and many more conveniences. Even the lower trim comes with ABS/EBD, speed- and crash-sensors, remote key, and GPS.
Geely said it plans to sell 80,000 SC5-RVs in 2011 and more than 100,000 next year. It also aims to have 42 models and sell 2 million vehicles, half of them overseas, by 2015.
The company, which took over Swedish carmaker Volvo last year, is moving quickly to realize its global ambitions, with more than 20,000 cars exported last year - about 5 percent of the company's total output - and a target of 40,000 this year. It already boasts several overseas plants where vehicles are assembled.
"The long-term target is to locally produce cars and sell them right there," said Victor Yang, a spokesman for Geely.
The company also initiated talks with the troubled Saab several weeks ago, but it "has no interest in acquiring a second Swedish car brand," said Geely's chairman Li Shufu, who was honored with The Order of Leopold by the Belgian knighthood on Monday in Beijing for his contribution to Belgium's automobile industry.
"Geely's outstanding performance and high-flying global expansion plan has guaranteed its position in winning government subsidies," said Zhang Xin, an automobile analyst with Shanghai-based Guotai Jun'an Securities.
Subsidy: 3,000 yuan