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Geely marks return with a big bang

By Aida Sevilla-Mendoza Philippine Daily Inquirer September 29,2019

A GATHERING OF PARTNERS, from left, Yosuke Nishi, EVP, Sojitz G Auto Philippines; Mikihisa Takayama, president and CEO, Sojitz G Auto Philippines; Hiroto Murai, COO, Automotive Division, Sojitz Corp.; Masayoshi Fujimoto, president and CEO, Sojitz Corp.; guest of honor Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez; Helen Yuchengco Dee, chair, House of Investments; An Conghui, president and CEO, Geely Holding Group; Alex Nan, GM, Geely Automobile International Corp.; Dr. Hanka Sandquist, chief engineer, Geely Powertrain; Jenny Jin, deputy manager, Geely Automobile International Corp.; Guy Burgoyne, VP, Geely Global Design; and Froilan Dytianquin, GM, Sales & Marketing, Sojitz G Auto Philippines.

 

Remember Geely? It is a Chinese automotive brand that arrived in the Philippines many years ago and then vanished from the scene almost unnoticed.

Now, Geely is due to be noticed big time.

Last Wednesday, Geely announced its return as Sojitz G Auto Philippines with an impressive launching ceremony at the posh Grand Hyatt in Bonifacio Global City, the venue of choice for the intro of new global car models.

It was the first time during the Duterte administration that the Secretary of Finance, Carlos Dominguez, graced a new car brand launch with his presence.

The top honchos of Sojitz and the Geely Holding Group attended the big event in full force, such as Masayoshi Futjimoto, president/CEO of Sojitz Corp., Mikihisa Takayama, president/CEO, Sojitz G Auto PH (SGAP), An Conghui, president/CEO of the Geely Holding Group, and Hiroto Murai, COO, Automotive Division, Sojitz Corp.

 

TV host and former volleyball star Gretchen Ho and DJ and sports anchor Aaron Atayde led the launching of the Coolray

 

Also noticeably present, aside from Finance Secretary Dominguez, was Helen Yuchengco-Dee, chair of the House of Investments. In his speech, Fujimoto expressed his sincere appreciation to the Yuchengco Group for their 50 years business partnership, and looked forward to open a new chapter by having Yuchengco as shareholding partner for the SGAP venture.

SGAP is the new member of the growing family of Sojitz Corp. which has been active in the Philippine auto industry since the 1960s. Sojitz Corp. has local distributorships such as Fuso trucks under Sojitz Fuso PH Corp. and a number of distributorships worldwide.

GEELY HOLDING GROUP. The Geely Auto Group is part of the Zheijang Geely Holding Group (ZGH) and has under its aegis Geely Auto, Lynk & Co., Proton, Lotus, and the London Electric Vehicle Company (more popularly known as London Cab).

 

Alex Nan, GM of Geely Automobile International Corp.

 

ZGH has been listed on the Fortune Global 500 for seven consecutive years with assets totaling over 310 billion RMB ($43.5 billion) and employing more than 120,000 people.

It has five R&D centers in Hangzhou, Ningbo, Gothenburg, Coventry and Frankfurt, plus five design centers in Shanghai, Gothenburg, Barcelona, Coventry and California employing over 20,000 research and design personnel.

The Volvo Car Group consisting of the Volvo and Polestar brands, is part of ZGH since the latter has been the largest shareholder of Volvo AB since 2017.

 

Mikihisa Takayama, president and CEO, Sojitz G Auto Philippines, fields questions during the press conference preceding the grand launch at the Grand Hyatt. Eugene Araneta

 

Also in 2017, ZGH acquired Terrafugia, the American flying car company, reflecting its belief that technology drives innovation, and innovation leads development.

In 2018, ZGH acquired 10 percent of Daimler AG to become the largest single shareholder of the manufacturer of Mercedes-Benz cars.

In 2018, ZGH sold over 2.15 million cars worldwide, a year-on-year increase of 18.3 percent. ZGH aims to reach 3 million vehicle sales by 2020.

This year, 330 Geely cars and 144 Volvo vehicles were used in the G20 Summit as police, guide, and service vehicles.

COOLRAY.

 

Design VP Burgoyne

 

Meanwhile, closer to home, SGAP was officially appointed as the importer and distributor of Geely cars in the Philippines last July. To formally enter the Philippine market, SGAP launched the Geely Coolray compact SUV as its initial offering with the slogan “Bring the fun back in driving.”

Designed by a global team of over 500 engineers and designers from five studios in Shanghai, Coventry, Gothenburg, Barcelona, and California led by automotive design luminaries Peter Harbury and Guy Burgoyne, the Coolray was purposely designed to meet the needs of younger users who demand more spacious, fun and personalized vehicles.

Based on Geely’s latest “Youth Power” aesthetic principle, Coolray turns heads on the road with its expanding cosmos grille, LED daytime running lights, wing-shaped waistline on the side complementing the “Wings of Time” tail lamp design, and 18-inch dual color, turbine-inspired sports rims.

 

Coolray exterior designer, Jamie Barett

 

The Coolray is the first Geely car built on the BMA platform, which was developed in partnership with Volvo for over four years with the help of 100 modular architecture experts from over 20 countries. The BMA platform exceeds the criteria for a five-star Euro NCAP safety rating.

Geely invested almost 490 million US dollars to get the best people and equipment to produce the Coolray, including 300 robots from factory automation leader KUKA, welding robots from Bosch and coating equipment from SCA.

The G-Power engine is a turbocharged direct injection gasoline engine producing 174hp and 255 Nm of torque via a 7-speed dual clutch transmission. Emissions rating is Euro 5 and claimed fuel efficiency is 15 kilometers per liter, based on tests done by the Ministerio de Industria, Comercio y Turismo in Spain.

 

Chief engineer Dr. Sandquist

SAFETY. Placing a premium on safety, Geely uses 70 percent high-strength steel and 20 percent hot-formed steel in the Coolray’s construction which has been designed to accommodate safety features, as well as Level 2 and Level 3 Autonomous Driving.

It has six airbags, electronic stability control system, automated parking assist which allows drivers hands and feet-free parking with the push of a button, a 360-degree panoramic video that shows the surrounding area around the car, electronic parking brake and autohold, blind spot detection, cruise control, smart keyless entry, remote start, and push start button.

 

Geely Holding Group president and CEO Conghui

 

The cabin enhances driving pleasure with premium leather seats, a jet throttle-inspired e-shift, 10.25-inch floating infotainment panel with smart ecosystem, and customizable 7-inch LCD instrument panel.

As SGAP president Takayama invited the audience in his welcome remarks at the Geely brand launch, “We would like each and everyone of you to be part of our journey and discover the best driving experience that the Geely brand has to offer.”

 

Gretchen Ho with the Coolray

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