Browse over 9,000 car reviews

Geely to launch in WA

He says the Geely price approach is similar to the other Chinese companies, sitting at Korean levels with more equipment.

The third brand to commit to local sales - after Chery and Great Wall - says it will have its first cars in showrooms by September and aims to sell a minimum of 5000 cars a year within 18 months.

But it is taking a low-key approach with the local agent, John Hughes, building a plan around local success in Western Australia before moving to eastern states early in 2011.  "We want to get people to put the cars on their shopping list, even though the cars are made in China and the brand is not recognised," says Hughes.

He says a single-car lineup with the Geely MK, a 1.5-litre compact sedan, is not enough to build a dealer network and so he is concentrating on getting things moving in WA.  "We plan to order our first cars in June with sales, in WA only, around September," says Hughes.

"We have to under-promise and over-deliver, so we would like to start recruiting dealers in the first quarter of next year. We want to establish the brand in WA with our own particular expertise."  Hughes knows all about start-up brands as he was one of the original Hyundai agents in Australia, eventually becoming the world's best selling dealership for the Korean brand.

This time he is going along and has a structured approach to the Geely business.  "We are weeks away from getting ADR approval on the MK. The hatchback will be a couple of months behind the sedan, and the automatic will be another couple of months behind that again. But still all the MK model," Hughes says.

"The next one will be the LC, which is called the Panda in China, and we're talking about the first quarter of next year.  "After that will be the EC7, which is a 1.8-litre car in a hatch and sedan. Then we'll launch East."

He says the Geely price approach is similar to the other Chinese companies, sitting at Korean levels with more equipment. It's the same with sales targets.  "The MK is really a pilot, so it will be modest numbers. The Panda will be good, and the EC7 too. We'll get into serious numbers in the second half of 2011.

"We're looking at around 5000 a year, although we won't necessarily do 5000 in the first year."  Geely makes a giant splash at Auto China 2010 in Beijing with 42 different models on 19 mechanical platforms with 15 different engines.

It also has hybrid and plug-in electric cars, as well as big plans to build two million cars a year by 2015.  "Out of those 42 different models, there are 11 targeted at the right- hand drive market," says John Hughes.

"Whilst Geely are marketing three different brands in the Chinese market - including Emgrand and Englon - we intend to bring any of the products to Australia under the one umbrella, which is Geely."

He hopes to get the brand's green cars as soon as they are available but is waiting for confirmation from China.  "We have seen the hybrid and electric cars in Beijing, but it's a wait- and-see situation for us at the moment."

And what about more brands to join Geely in the Hughes' portfolio?  "I've got no comment on that. We are totally committed to the distribution of Geely."

View cars for sale