China’s Geely group plans to begin producing a small crossover utility vehicle late next year as part of efforts to expand into the European and US markets, Reuters reported.
The car, the first to be built using a common platform jointly developed with Volvo, will hit showrooms in China in early 2017 and the European markets a year or so later, it said.
It will eventually be also pushed in the United States, the report said, citing sources familiar with the matter.
The new car will be based on a common platform called Compact Modular Architecture (CMA) and engine technology that Zhejiang Geely Holding Group has developed with Volvo Cars.
Geely group acquired Volvo cars from Ford Motor Co nearly five years ago.
With the CMA car, Geely chairman Li Shifu “wants to tell the world we’re ready for the big time. We’re ready to break into Europe and the US,” a company source was quoted as saying.
Zhejiang Geely is building a new assembly plant in eastern China, which will eventually have the capacity to produce 150,000 CMA-based vehicles a year for both Geely and Volvo, according to the report.
For export to Europe, the new plant’s CMA-based small crossover SUV will initially be an alternative-fuel version. In China, the company plans to sell a gasoline-engine version from early 2017, followed by a couple of alternative fuel variants, such as plug-in hybrids, the report said.
In targeting Europe with an alternative-fuel model, Geely wants to be seen as a maker of affordable high-tech cars rather than just another cheap, no-frills Chinese brand, sources told Reuters.
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