New Geely EC7 takes top spot in subcompact market

Geely Emgrand 2012

  • Geely EC7 to be launched in South Africa in 2013
  • Top selling Chinese Geely EC7 takes top sot in subcompact segment, ousting long-time favourites
  • EC7 outsells direct competitor in home country

Geely EC7

The new Geely EC7, a subcompact passenger vehicle due for launch inSouth   Africaearly next year, has taken the top spot in the Chinese subcompact market segment.

Ousting direct competitors it will also come up against in South Africa, the Geely EC7 has taken the top spot as best selling subcompact in that segment after record sales in the first half of this year in a market that has gained around 10%.

Increasing competition in the Chinese subcompact market is starting to take its toll on Chinese manufacturers. Rivalry is extreme as manufacturers of budget cars fight for miniscule market segments, each battling to get a bigger piece of the massive motoring pie that has been shred into tiny pieces.

According to a recent report in the Beijing News, one of the Chinese capital’s major newspapers, sales of one top competitor that has been available inSouth Africa for over a year, fell by more than 10% compared to the first six months of 2011.

Sales of this small sedan (available inSouth Africaas a hatch) totalled 68 000 units inChina– down from 76 861 units sold in the same period of last year.

On local soil the Geely EC7, which will soon be launched inSouth Africa, is a direct competitor to Chinese models such as the GWM C30, and strongly outsold its GWM rival inChinaduring the same period.

The GWM C30 has fallen out of the top ten rankings inChinafor the first half of 2012 while the Geely EC7 usurped the C30 and various other Chinese models in its domestic market to take the top spot. Subcompact sales inChinagrew 10,2% over the first half of the year, with subcompacts in the same segment as the Geely EC7 making up the largest passenger automobile segment by sales volume. These are responsible for 37,7% of all passenger vehicle sales.

Chinese domestic sales of similar cars from joint venture models were also more than 10% down compared to the first half of 2011.

“Competition inSouth Africais extremely competitive as well, with a host of Chinese and other budget brands fighting for their slice of the South African cake,” says Henri Meistre of Geely SouthAfrica.

“The entry level segment of the market is rife with imported newcomers with a host of so-called budget models from different manufacturers, and the product offerings fromChinaare some of the most competitive. Our Geely range of passenger cars have recently come out tops in three out of four JD Power Customer Satisfaction Index divisions in its home country,” he says.

Apart from these highly exciting developments, Geely SA has also as recent as earlier this month opened its own Research and Development Centre at its head office in Midrand, Gauteng, to assist the Chinese automaker with changes needed for local conditions before the launch of new models for the 2013 South African market.

Geely SA, with 34 dealers inSouth Africaand expanding, markets the MK, LC and LC X on local soil. Geely International will in the near future also help Volvo, which it acquired in 2010, to develop a new mini car to compete against luxury car makers such as BMW with its MINI.

The Geely EC7, a five-door hatch and four-door sedan, is due to be launched in South Africanext year. The EC7 sedan will be launched in the first quarter of 2013, while the hatch version will make its local debut in the 3rd quarter of 2013.

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