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Geely launches 'mini urban bus' project

Source:Globaltimes.cn Published: 2013-6-24 10:21:23

After a high-profile debut of the pure-electric version of its compact sedan, the Emgrand EC7 in the 2013 Shanghai Auto Show, Geely's any move in the new energy vehicle business would command much attention from the outside. Li Shufu, Chairman of Geely Holding Group, stressed that new energy vehicle is the strategic business sector for Geely. "After years' preparation and accumulation in technologies and marketing, our new energy vehicle business needs to grasp the period of strategic opportunities and embark on a fast development lane," he said. Several days ago, Zhejiang Kandi Vehicles Co., Ltd, a business partner of Geely, appointed Liu Jinliang as the Vice President of Sales & Marketing for the co-established Kandi Electric Vehicles Co., Ltd. Liu, a former general manager heading Geely's sales division has just recently been named Vice President of Geely's new energy vehicle Sales & Marketing department.

This new appointment is reportedly a cooperation extension of the joint venture agreement entered into by Shanghai Maple Guorun Automobile Co. Ltd., a subsidiary of Geely Holding Group, and Zhejiang Kandi Vehicles Co. Ltd. in March Geely has previously joined hands with Kandi Vehicles Co. Ltd and established Kandi Electric Vehicles Co., Ltd. with businesses primarily focusing on investment, R&D, manufacturing, sales and marketing of electric vehicles (EV).

"Liu Jinliang 's new appointment as the VP of Sales & Marketing for the JV Company is a boost for our efforts to expand vigorously the market of our new energy vehicle" , said Yang Xueliang, Geely's Chief Public Relations Officer, during a recent interview with Securities Daily.

Wait for the right time to realize a long cherished dream

During the 2013 Shanghai Auto Show, Chairman Li Shufu told the press that Geely has poured a lot of efforts into the research and development of electric vehicle and the pure-electric version unveiled in Shanghai will soon be put into massive production, which he believed would assuredly capture widespread public attention. He said, "Vehicle electrification is a general trend in automobile industry which Geely ought to follow and conform to."

On March 22, Shanghai Maple Guorun Automobile Co. Ltd. entered into a joint venture agreement with Zhejiang Kandi Vehicles Co. Ltd to establish a joint venture company of Zhejiang Kandi Electric Vehicles Co., Ltd.

It is reported that the registered capital for Zhejiang Kandi Electric is 1 billion yuan or $163 million dollars, and each party will contribute 50 percent of the registered capital in cash and will each own 50 percent of Zhejiang Kandi Electric. The joint venture will bring together and give full play to the advantages, resources and expertise of both sides with a view to developing such electric cars as provide convenient service to ordinary people who could afford to buy and maintain. The main products of Kandi Electric are electric cars designed to serve as a means of urban public transportation. The mature operation experience in market of Hangzhou, capital city of Zhejiang Province, will help the promotion and popularization of this kind of electric vehicle and establish this joint venture as a vanguard in a segmented electric vehicle market.        

"After years' accumulation in technologies and marketing, we believe it is time for us to forge ahead in the new energy vehicle business." Yang Xueliang told the reporters.

According to Yang, after the establishment of Kandi Electric, they will focus on manufacturing small-sized and short range EVs, similar to mini urban buses. "Due to a small market for individual purchases of EVs, our products will go into rental business and serve the individuals, which pretty much work along the same line as the public bicycles in Hangzhou. With Hangzhou as a pilot city, we have held talks with a lot of cities on possible business cooperation to promote our products." Yang said, "more than 100 transit stations controlled by a background operations management center will be put into place in the future for citizens' convenience in borrowing and returning of our EVs."

Yang Xueliang also pointed out that when the batteries of this new EV in pipeline run out of power they will be changed instead of being charged, so the charging piles won't be necessary. A large portion of capital will be poured into the establishment of an operations management center. Moreover, it will help alleviate the urban traffic congestion and improve poor environment caused by vehicle exhaust, when the "mini urban buses" project is officially launched.

According to an early announcement released by Geely, more than a billion yuan has been invested in the new energy vehicle business sector.

Speed up plans to tap into the market

Liu Jinliang joined Geely in 1995 and has led Geely's sales division since 2005. Under his leadership, the company has successfully undergone brand integration and product structural adjustment. With one remarkable achievement after another, Liu is the one that elevates Geely from the mediocrity to what it is today.

In an exclusive interview with Securities Daily during the 2013 Shanghai Auto Show, Liu Jinliang left the journalists with an impression that he attaches great importance to the "brand image" of their products. He said, "At present, what we need to do is to set up a brand image in all areas like product quality, after-sale service and maintenance."

On the 2013 Shanghai Auto Show, Geely unveiled a pure-electric version of its compact sedan, the Emgrand EC7, which will be available on market in a step-by-step manner starting from Q1 next year, with enterprises and public institutions as their main target consumers. A total of 3,000 units are expected to be delivered for the first year and 30,000 for the year 2016.

Brimming with confidence, a Geely high-level official told reporters that they hope Liu Jinliang could reach this goal.

When talking about the strategic deployment of their new energy vehicle business, Yang Xueliang also revealed that they will in the future launch hybrid-version vehicle, citing the methanol-fueled vehicle being test run in China's Shanxi Province. 

In Liu Jinliang's appointment letter, Chairman of Geely Holding Group Li Shufu puts forward his hopes on Liu. He said, "After years' preparation and accumulation in technologies and marketing, our new energy vehicle business need to grasp the period of strategic opportunities and embark on a fast development lane."

Commenting on Geely's efforts in the new energy vehicle business, auto analyst Zhang Zhiyong deemed them in line with national policies. He said, "Judging whatever the Twelfth Five-year Plan or subsidy policies formulated by our government, China will strongly support new energy vehicles for a long time to come. Moreover, the current new energy vehicle market is pretty much mature where BYD (35.29,-1.46,-3.97%) taxi has gained much popularity. Based on the current situation, Geely has thus made a significant adjustment in the new energy vehicle business recently. "

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