How Geely quietly built a far-reaching European footprint
As a Chinese company, Geely is subject to an unusual level of scrutiny, given concerns over data protection, China’s human rights record and government-corporate ties .
“There’s a whole bunch of issues around governance and transparency, and the relationship between the state,” Cardiff University’s Wells said of Chinese companies in general. “We have seen that some prominent companies or individuals in China can be targeted by the state for political reasons, with quite profound effects.”
Geely is committed to being as transparent as possible as it becomes more international. “Geely Holding is often seen as a dark horse in the automotive industry; however, I can say that we are an open book,” Daniel Li told the German forum recently.
Geely offers no particular concerns about this, analysts say, noting that foreign automakers have been working with Chinese companies for decades, and in turn firms such as BAIC (Mercedes) and Dongfeng (PSA Group) held significant stakes in some of these companies.
Wells noted that unlike other Chinese newcomers, Geely had entered the European market through brands considered traditionally European, such as Volvo, Lotus and Smart.
“It was a pretty good decision,” he said. “It takes a long time to build a brand presence in Europe.”
Geely has also retained extensive design and engineering work in Europe, and respected Ford and Volvo veteran Peter Horbury has overseen Geely’s design since 2011.
Analysts say it’s very difficult to say how big the company might be, largely because many of its businesses have huge potential that can’t yet be quantified.
Volvo, Geely’s biggest brand, is targeting sales of 1.2 million (up from around 700,000 in 2021) by 2025, while Polestar is aiming for 290,000 by that year and Smart 150,000 by the.
IHS’ Fletcher thinks Geely could grow 50% by 2027, but he added the company has huge growth potential for a number of reasons, in part because it has a ‘top-down’ range , from motorcycles to mainstream compact cars to high-end SUVs. , and partly because many initiatives have just been launched.
“They’ve done so much in the last five to seven years, so the potential for growth is absolutely huge. But in the medium to long term, it’s got to be about profits to invest in the business,” he said. he declared.
“They will continue to grow,” he said. “It just depends on the speed of their trajectory.”