To many, Geely will be a relatively unknown car firm, but on a global scale, this is a hugely important carmaker that offers the potential to send shockwaves across the entire automotive landscape.
It’s come to the forefront recently because it has now acquired a 7.6 per cent share in Aston Martin, as Geely looks to have a more significant foothold in ‘legacy’ auto brands.
Only founded in 1997, Geely (full name Zhejiang Geely Holding Group) now has a number of well-known brands under its umbrella, along with several firms it has established itself. It’s also the largest privately owned Chinese car company. Here are the key brands that Geely owns, or has a share in…
Perhaps the most well-known brand here in the UK that falls under the Geely umbrella is Volvo. A deal was struck in 2010 with the Swedish firm’s previous owners Ford, and since then the brand has continued to grow, particularly in the true ‘Geely’ era when the second-generation XC90 launched in 2015.
The upscale investment has seen Volvo grow into one of the more popular premium brands, aided in particular by the XC40 SUV which uses a platform shared with other models in the Geely family.
Owned by the ‘Volvo Car Group’ as part of the Geely arrangement, Polestar only started delivering its first cars in 2020 but managed to deliver 29,000 cars in 2021.
Benefitting from the technology and powertrains from Volvo, Polestar’s cars excel with their striking designs and focus on sustainability. The Polestar 3 will soon launch as its first SUV, and is expected to boost sales significantly.
Lotus has been a firm that was struggling for years, but after Geely became the majority stakeholder in this British brand in 2017 (owning 51 per cent of the company, with Malaysian firm Etika Automotive having the remaining 49 per cent), it’s grown from strength to strength.
Undergoing an ambitious model offensive that starts with the new Emira sports car, Lotus will soon expand into higher volume segments, such as with the Eletre SUV. With Geely’s investment, Lotus has been able to revamp its facilities and grow its portfolio significantly.
Geely’s portfolio is vast, and since 2019 it has been in a joint venture with Mercedes-Benz for the Smart Automobile Co – best known for its Smart car. Designed by Mercedes and then engineered and manufactured by Geely, the first new ‘Smart’ is just launching with the #1.
It’s Smart’s first SUV, and a radical departure from the small city cars we’re used to from the firm, though these higher-volume segments are set to be key to this brand’s future success.
Geely has quite a vested interest in the UK, as not only does the Chinese automotive giant own Lotus, but also the London Electric Vehicle Company, known as LEVC.
You might not have heard of LEVC, but you’ll have likely seen the TX – a modernised version of the iconic London taxi. Dominating London’s taxi sales, the TX is a range-extender model that helps drivers reduce their running costs and emissions. It also now has an electric van called the VN5. Both are made in a factory near Coventry.
But alongside other brands, Geely also sells cars under its own name – Geely Auto. With more than 1.38m cars sold in 2021, it’s a pretty big deal and it has been the biggest Chinese automaker for the last five years.
Its range is rather extensive too, incorporating seven saloons, 10 SUVs and one MPV, and is increasingly putting a greater focus on zero-emissions model – something that’s particularly important in China.
One of Geely Auto’s newest brands, Geometry focuses purely on electric cars and was established in 2019.
It officially launched its ‘G6’ saloon and ‘M6’ SUV for the Chinese market in August 2022, with these models built around Goemtry’s own platforms
Proton is the national car brand of Malaysia and one that Geely has had a 49.9 per cent stake in since 2017 when it became its strategic partner.
If it’s a name that rings a bell, it’s because Proton sold a number of models in the UK between 1989 and 2014, though the brand is highly unlikely to ever return to Britain.
Lynk & Co
Lynk & Co is the first of Geely’s ‘own’ brands to make their entry into Europe, with this firm already selling in markets such as Denmark, Germany and Spain. It’s also set to expand into the UK too, with a planned launch for 2023.
The brand’s sharply-styled ‘01’ is the model that’s really growing momentum, with a key part of the car’s success being the subscription ‘ownership’ model that it’s sold under.
It goes to show what a success Geely has become that it’s now developing its ‘own-brand’ premium models, and Zeekr aims to satisfy the demand for more luxurious electric models.
Its first car – the 001 – went into production last year at an advanced 5G+ factory, and uses a new platform and a ‘fully integrated user ecosystem’.