GEELY CHAIRMAN EXCITED AFTER VISIT TO SOUTH AFRICA
- Geely Chairman encourages prudent investigation for local assembly
- SA visit indication of future expansion
- New GX7 and bakkie project to receive serious attention
A SA visit of one of the most important automotive industrialists in China can be seen as a move towards possible major future investment and expansion, with local assembly to be carefully evaluated and placed on the agenda.
Chinese industrialist and Zhejiang Geely Holding Group Chairman Mr. Li Shufu returned to his homeland this week after an exciting and “very pleasing” visit to South Africa after attending the BRICS conference in Durban.
Mr Li, founder and chairman of Geely Automobile, the biggest private automaker in China, visited the independent Geely South Africa after the conference, and also paid a visit to Volvo SA, the local subsidiary of the Swedish automaker taken over by his company in October 2010.
Mr. Li encouraged talks between Volvo and Geely SA for local collaboration in the short term and the investigation of further benefits such as local assembly. As far as Geely South Africa is concerned, Mr. Li undertook to “push the right-hand drive version of the GX7 SUV” and continue with a new bakkie project. He also expressed his wishes for Geely SA “to take up discussions with Volvo SA” for greater synergies, particularly with regard to shared back offices at this stage.
“As always, it was an honour to meet him and spend some valuable time with him. I think he was suitably impressed with local operations, however, more importantly, he was particularly interested in South Africans’ love affair with SUVs and pick-ups,” said Geely SA Managing Director Henri Meistre. “We will be travelling to the Shanghai Auto Show later this month, where we will be involved in an important pick-up workshop. We will also be exposed to a host of exciting new concepts, engines, prototypes and production ready models.”
Described as “a very positive outing”, the 2013 South African excursion was Mr Li’s first visit to the country