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Newcomer Zeekr sniffing around Aussie Volvo dealers. Will Geely and Zeekr's local arrival upset corporate cousin Volvo's apple cart?

Volvo's EM90 is based on the Zeekr 009 people mover

Chinese giant Geely has many strings to its automotive bow with domestic market brands Galaxy, Geometry, Lynk & Co, Radar and Zeekr sitting under its corporate control.

But globally recognised names like Lotus, Polestar, Proton and Smart as well as the London EV Company and last but far from least, Volvo, also sit within the Geely ownership structure.

With Zeekr breaking out of China to European markets and launching in Australia during the second-half of this year, and Geely itself currently recruiting Sydney-based senior executive positions, CarsGuide asked Volvo Car Australia Managing Director Stephen Connor if their arrival might impact the Swedish brand’s local operations. 

His immediate response was, “I have no idea. I read it all on the websites and from what I read they’re coming here.” 

But surely the experienced British exec was being somewhat cagey as he also let slip he’s aware Zeekr has pitched to multiple Volvo dealers for local retail representation. 

Zeekr will launch locally in the second-half of this year

“We’ve heard Zeekr has already talked to three of our dealers and that’s about all I know.

“We need to be very focused on Volvo. What we don’t want to do is entertain other brands when it dissects and waters down what we need to achieve,” he said.

EV specialist Zeekr will launch here with the X, a compact, dual-motor, AWD EV SUV (which borrows heavily from the Volvo XC40) and the six-seat 009 people mover (the basis of the similarly configured Volvo EM90). 

And more broadly, Mr Connor is grateful for the Geely Chinese connection, noting, “Taking cars out of China means we save five per cent on average thanks to the free trade agreement.

“Plus, thanks to Chinese production (for models like the recently released EX30) we’re three weeks away from build to showroom whereas Europe is six to nine weeks. 

“We can get an increase in volume within three to four weeks,” he said.

James Cleary
Deputy Editor
As a small boy James often sat on a lounge with three shoes in front of him, a ruler between the cushions, and a circular drinks tray in his hands. He would then play ‘drivings’, happily heading to destinations unknown for hours on end. He’s since owned many cars, raced a few, and driven (literally) thousands of them at all points of the globe. He’s steered around and across Australia multiple times, spent time as an advanced driving instructor, and had the opportunity to experience rare and valuable classics here and overseas. His time in motoring journalism has included stints at national and international titles including Motor, Wheels and TopGear, and when asked to nominate a career highlight, James says interviewing industry legend Gordon Murray, in the paddock at the 1989 Australian Formula One Grand Prix was amazing, especially as Murray waived away a hovering Ayrton Senna to complete the conversation. As Deputy Editor, James manages everything from sub-editing to back-end content, while creating written and video product reviews, as well as the weekly 'Tools in the Shed' podcast.'
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