Chinese auto giant Geely, one of the fastest growing car manufacturers in the world's biggest car market, has turned the page and is in the process of setting up new export records, including a new model on its way to local shores.
Geely, since 2010 the new parent company of Volvo, has increased exports by a massive margin for the first three quarters of 2012 - partly thanks to strategies for quality management and increased safety features. Export figures for 2012 up to October show that Geely has exported more than 81 000 vehicles to foreign markets, representing over 200% growth compared to the previous year's 38 000 units (21 000 in 2010; 18 000 in 2009).
Chinese cars, with Geely leading the way, have seen huge quality improvements in the last year thanks to bigger investment into research and development. One of Geely's latest models, the new EC7 - now built in a new plant in Egypt and destined for the South African market in the second quarter of 2013 - has received a 4-star grading in the European NCAP test, marking the Volvo influence in Geely models to come.
Stricter quality control and better safety features are taking the place of the 'low price, poor quality' approach of the Chinese automotive market of a decade ago, producing well engineered products such as the EC7.
Geely International has in recent months come out tops in three out of four JD Power customer satisfaction survey divisions in the 2012 China Customer Service Index (CSI) study. Geely's overall customer satisfaction for after-sales service with authorised dealers in China climbed steadily over the last six years and remained stable for 2012. The three Geely ranges in the survey - the LC, Englon (not available in South Africa) and EC7 - received scores of 865, 861 and 850 respectively, while the industry average was 832 points out of a possible 1 000.
"Geely's outstanding success in international markets, including Europe and Africa, has rapidly established the private manufacturer as an exciting alternative to other Asian brands," says Henri Meistre, MD of Geely South Africa. "Its phenomenal sales growth proves the appeal of Geely's competitive pricing, safer features, fuel efficiency, trendy design, leading warranty and after-sales service, with a host of new models in the pipeline to prove this."
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