The Geely press conference was swarming with media members, despite it not being in the cozy confines of Cobo Hall itself, but rather out in the lobby/concourse area. John Harmer, head of Geely USA, introduced Mr. Shufu Li, the entrepreneurial force behind the Geely Automobile Co., to the sea of cameras and microphones.
Geely must have learned a thing or two from its whack press conference in Frankfurt, as the one today was much more formal and informative. The company even did something very rare for an automaker at NAIAS – had a Q&A session with the press during the press conference.
Read on for all the details and pics of this rather historic press conference.
Head of Geely USA John Harmer and Shufu Li, CEO of Geely Automobile Company.
The press showed up in spades to cover the first Chinese automaker to be displayed at the NAIAS.
So here’s what we know:
- Biggest hurdle to entering U.S. is poor image of Chinese products here
- The fifth generation of the Geely 7151 CK (current third gen model pictured) will be the first model to enter the U.S. market
- The current C.K. doesn’t meet U.S. safety and emissions regulations, though the company will work to ensure it does during the next 18 mos.
- After U.S. regulations are met the company will focus on building a distribution network, mainly comprised of existing dealers. (Harmer said many dealers had already dropped off business cards at the show.)
- The CK (current or next gen wasn’t specified) will get 25mpg/city and 35mpg/hwy, as well as last for 10 years.
- Geely expects to sell 25,000 vehicles in its first year and 100,000 by the end of its fifth year in the U.S.
- The company will also enter the Canadian market after its cars are able to pass U.S. requirements
- Shufu Li is the son of Chinese peasant farmers (very “rags to riches”/American Dream story)
- No government entity owns any part of Geely
- “Geely” is derived from Chinese phrase that means “I am lucky”