The Chinese car company Geely is planning a new brand called Zeekr, which is to be positioned in the premium segment and above all compete with Tesla. The plan is apparently to launch the brand under Geely’s planned subsidiary Lingling Technologies.
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This is according to a report by Reuters. It has been public since mid-February that Geely wants to spin off product planning, marketing and sales of electric vehicles into an independent company called Lingling Technologies. The main focus is on future electric cars based on the SEA (Sustainable Experience Architecture) electric platform unveiled in September 2020. However, these plans have not been officially confirmed by Geely, also made public by Reuters.
The news agency now reports on the establishment of the Zeekr brand, citing “three people familiar with the matter”. In line with the plans for the Lingling subsidiary, vehicles based on the SEA electric platform are to be marketed under its new Zeekr brand. In terms of brand and sales strategy, new strategies are apparently being announced, including showrooms or ‘hubs’ in city centres where cars will be sold at fixed prices. This would move Geely away from the tradition of selling its vehicles through dealers – just like Tesla.
Geely wants to create more customer proximity and loyalty in the eMobility sector with new sales and marketing strategies. There is talk of a new lifestyle line of clothing and accessories, the creation of a club for car owners (as pioneered by Nio, among others) and the introduction of a share ownership plan to allow customers to become shareholders in Lingling.
Geely declined to comment, according to Reuters. In February, the news agency reported with regard to the planned subsidiary that own showrooms in city centres were planned. Some of them will apparently be managed by the company itself, others will be operated in cooperation with dealers.
Lingling Technologies is also to take over marketing and sales of the SEA models of the Geely brands Lynk & Co and Geometry, it said in February. However, the new company is also expected to be involved in the further development of the SEA platform and obtain market data to develop EV models accordingly. However, it is not yet clear when exactly the company is to start. In February, it became known that Geely intends to establish the subsidiary “this year”.
Geely plans in-house battery manufacturing
Geely has announced numerous collaborations in recent months to expand its EV business and SEA platform. The Chinese company aims to become a leading electric car maker, including as a contract manufacturer. One of these joint ventures was announced with the technology group Baidu.
The Chinese group is also one of those carmakers that are getting round to investing in battery production: According to Chinese media reports, the subsidiary Geely Technology Group is to invest 30 billion yuan (about 3.87 billion euros) in a battery factory in the city of Ganzhou. The plant is initially to reach an annual capacity of 12 GWh, before an expansion to 42 GWh is planned later. In addition, the car subsidiary Geely Automobile Holdings founded a joint venture with CATL in December.
Electric car sales at Geely itself are still low: According to some figures published a few days ago on Gasgoo, in January and February e-models such as the Geometry A, Geometry C and Emgrand EV accounted for only three per cent of total sales. Geely Holding Group consists of the following five main businesses: Geely Auto, Volvo Car, Geely New Energy Commercial Vehicle, Geely Technology and Mitime. The brands include Geely Auto, Lynk & Co, Geometry, Volvo, Polestar, London Electric Vehicle Company (LEVC), Farizon Auto, Proton and Lotus.
Update 23 March 2021: The Chinese car company Geely has now officially confirmed the launch of a new brand called Zeekr for electric cars in the premium segment. As Geely now announces, the first Zeekr electric cars are to be delivered as early as Q3 2021. Zeekr plans to launch one new model in each of the next five years. The electric cars will be based on the SEA (Sustainable Experience Architecture) electric platform presented in September 2020. Initially, Geely is targeting the Chinese market with Zeekr, but later the electric cars could also be exported – as the company wants to “serve the growing global demand for premium electric vehicles”.
The parent company Zhejiang Geely Holding (ZGH) and Geely Auto are working together on the development, and production is to take place at ZGH as part of a “light asset strategy”. In other words: there will be no own or exclusive plants for the Zeekr brand. Production at a contract manufacturer is therefore possible, for example, the recently announced joint venture between Geely and Foxconn.
Zeekr is also to create a new ecosystem “focused on fully integrating the end-user into a new super ecosystem”. This is to include service and distribution. In this way, Zeekr is targeting Tesla and also wants to differentiate itself from other Geely brands such as Polestar, Lynk&Co or, in China, Geometry.
With reporting by Cora Werwitzke, France.
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