Where do Geely cars are assembled?
We are already accustomed to the fact that Chinese expansion is gradually spreading to an increasing number of products. Today it is not only simple plastic toys for children. Mastering of microelectronics, coupled with the mass arrival of Western production facilities to the land of the Celestial Empire has served the country’s economy well. As a result, today, despite the formally communist ideology, there is no industry in which China openly lagged behind. The automotive industry is one of the most striking examples. Strictly speaking, automobiles have been produced here since the time of Mao, but there was never any mass production. That is why the government set a task: to provide the average citizen of the country with a car. Even today we can’t speak about its unconditional fulfillment, but certain successes are evident. Take, for example, the automobile concern Geely. The Chinese transcription of the brand sounds as “zhili”. Literally it translates as “I am lucky. There is nothing to talk about, quite an accurate name. The secret of success of the brand among locals is connected, first of all, with orientation on frankly budget car class. For its more than twenty-year history, Geely Holding Group has not only squeezed out all other national companies specializing in automobile production, but also managed to secure a position among the ten best global automakers, becoming one of the brands with more than a century-old history.
Facts from the history of the auto holding
It is said that the phrase of Li Shufu, the founder and permanent head of the board of directors of the automobile concern, that in the near future Geely cars will be as popular as lighters, quickly became a meme. One way or another, Li Shufu’s road to the top of the business was not a bed of roses. Beginning in 1984 with the manufacture of subassemblies for refrigerators, the businessman quickly realized that it was not an easy business. The lack of a license led to the fact that after two years the company had to close. Li Shufu’s next line of business was the production of finishing materials. Taking into account the experience of previous mistakes, he managed to increase production. In the mid-nineties, the successful businessman decided to try his hand at more technological production, buying a motorcycle factory.
And in 1988, it was time for automobiles. The first model was a copy of the small car Daihatsu Charade, but then the company focused on manufacturing cars of its own design. The car factory was initially part of the Geely Holding Group, with 100% of the shares owned by Li Shufu. But he soon decided that it would be better if the production of cars would be engaged in a separate company, named by him Geely Automobile Holding. The global economic crisis that broke out in 2008 had a very negative impact on many Chinese companies. Li Shufu’s catchphrase has ceased to be a meme, but this did not prevent the holding company from increasing its presence in the global car market, bringing its exports to the landmark figure of 1 million cars in 2015. It is Geely that is accused of forcing major global brands – Nissan, Ford, Renault and General Motors – to lower prices for their products in the Middle Kingdom.
It should be noted that the holding still exists, and its sphere of interest is quite extensive. In addition to cars themselves, it produces motorcycles, power units for cars, transmissions, other spare parts, and finishing materials. Geely Holding Group’s expansion extends to tourism, real estate, education and construction. But to be honest, it is car manufacturing that has brought worldwide fame to the concern.
Where do Geely cars are assembled?
The first enterprise for the assembly of cars was built in Linghai. The assembly line began its work in August 1998. At present, the total area of the enterprise exceeds 560000 square meters. At the moment the factory is engaged in manufacturing over a dozen models, designed primarily for the domestic market. Haoqing, Beauty Leopard, Youliou – these names say very little to the Russian consumer. It is in Linhai the main research center of GARI concern is located, along with three branches specializing in the design of power units, gearboxes and on-board automotive electronics. It is in GARI where all new models of the concern are developed. With more than a thousand highly skilled engineers, dozens of PhDs and several academics, the company was the first in China to independently design a gasoline engine equipped with CCVT system, develop an automatic transmission (also the first in China) and an innovative steering system.
The success of the company’s engineers shows the fact that today the company owns more than 400 patents, of which over 40 are licensed and actively used by many European and Asian automakers. Geely became in 2001 the first private Chinese car company, which received a state license. It was from this date, and began mass production of cars under the brand in the literal sense of the word. The range of its own developments is extremely wide and continues to grow. These include a quite modern petrol power unit corresponding to the European Euro-5 economy standard, CVT variator, D-CVT diesel SA, DCT transmission equipped with a double clutch. Thanks to the efforts of Chinese engineers, the FC model is the first Chinese passenger car to receive four stars from China NCAP crash-tests. So we can rightfully say that the affordability and safety are quite compatible things. The manufacturer of the Geely brand now has eight assembly plants of its own in China, in addition to the plant in Lihai.
Car plants in Xianggang/Lanzhou
The Lanzhou car assembly plant was the first Geely plant to enter the foreign market with the Geely Free Fleet. This was facilitated by the location of the production facility, close to a major international airport that flies to three dozen cities on the Asian continent. The total area of the plant is about 700,000 square meters, on which the painting, welding and finishing assembly lines are located. The Geely MK model is considered to be the hallmark of the factory, located in Xianggang. This enterprise with an area of more than 370 thousand square meters is located in the powerful economic zone Jiuhua. It is just over 50 kilometers from here to the Chinsha Huanggua Airport. The plant was built in record time of less than a year, which did not prevent it from receiving the internationally recognized ISO 9001 certificate. At present the Hunan Geely AutomobileParts plant is the pride of the concern, producing about 50,000 cars per year, although the design capacity is twice as much. The MC was replaced by the FC car, whose production Geely set up in 2008. The same plant will produce power units, gearboxes and car components. Cars are assembled by modern robotic equipment made in Japan, Switzerland and Germany.
Plants in Ningbo / Likao
Geely is considered the largest production complex in Licao, which was built in 2002 and covers an area of 1.8 million square meters, of which a little more than a million accounts for the manufacturing facilities. Most of the products are Geely MK model. The Ningbo plant, despite its more modest size (more than 750 thousand square meters), is more universal – it assembles several models: Free Fleet, FC and a small CK. What is interesting – there is no obligatory attribute of Russian enterprises – an entrance with a turntable. There is no pass check, but there are two armed guards at the entrance. The company is also equipped with the most modern production lines – Japanese stamping presses, Scandinavian manipulators; the management plans to master here the production of pickups, minivans and SUVs, as well as executive class sedans.
The most modern plant is located in Ningbo district, in the city of Chunxiao, where the production of Emgrand GC9 sedan of premium class is set up. The assembly of executive crossover HL3 is also planned to begin here. The area of production facilities is more than 650 thousand square meters, the designed capacity – more than 200 thousand cars per year. Nearby is the Beilong plant, where they assemble the Geely Emgrand EU7 and SK in the amount of 150,000 units/year. These are very popular Chinese cars in Russia. Finally, the Hajou Bei plant assembles many models of the Emgrand family (220,000 vehicles/year) and more than 500,000 1.3-liter powertrains. However, the domestic dealers, the producing country of the Geely Emgrand X7 is Belarus: the main supply comes from here, rather than from China, which looks quite logical.
Geely in Russia
Since the end of spring 2007, Geely cars have been assembled in Russia. The first assembly plant was opened in Novouralsk (Amur plant). Since 2011, the Geely MK Cross model has been manufactured in Russia, as the production of these cars has been established at the Derways plant, built in Karachaevo-Cherkessia. A year later, the same plant started producing the Emgrand EC7 sedan, and in 2013, the GC6 sedan. The results were not long in coming – in 2014, the Emgrand EC7 took first place in the Russian Federation in sales of Chinese sedans. Unfortunately, in 2016 the Derways assembly line was stopped, and after a year the sales of this brand slipped to fifth place, behind other Chinese automakers. However, the network of Geely dealers in our country remains quite branched – about 60 dealerships cooperating with the parent company under a full dealership contract, and eleven centers working under part-time service contracts. In 2018, the company showed six of its promising new products at the Moscow Motor Show, including the Geely Atlas sedan (made in Belarus), the GS hatchback, the SX11 crossover, and the GE hybrid car.
Geely in Belarus
Belarus Ministry of Industry and Automotive Concern Geely management reached an agreement on a joint venture in 2011, but it took two years to start assembling Chinese cars at the extensively renovated plant Avtogydrousilitel. The joint venture was named Belgi. Its nominal capacity is 10 thousand vehicles per year. During the first year of operation these capacities were fully utilized, and about 3 thousand cars (SC7 sedans, LC Cross hatchbacks, Emgrand X7 crossovers) were sold inside the country, and the rest were exported to Kazakhstan and Russia.
In 2017, the assembly of the flagship GT sedan began here, and in 2018 the plant began production of the Geely Atlas. The production of the updated Emgrand 7 is also planned to start here. Note that at the moment 51% of Belji shares belongs to the Belarusian company, a package of 33% – the Chinese concern Zhejiang Jirun Automobile. It is the Belarusian company is the main supplier of the brand cars in Russia.
Where and how does Chinese Geely assemble cars?
Our compatriots are still of the opinion that Chinese cars are “garbage, a construction set, and in general get it away from me”. But it would be silly to deny that cars from Celestial Empire evolve with time. Not least thanks to regular modernization of manufacture. Take, for example, Geely.
The company, which is one of the major players in the Asian auto industry, is developing by leaps and bounds. Over the past twenty years, this Chinese automaker has opened several plants, design studios and research centers. The most innovative enterprises are located in Ningbo, in the northeast of Zhejiang province.
Geely Holding Group owns 12 automobile plants and 6 powertrain plants in China, as well as 6 assembly plants and 4 plants abroad.
AutoView visited Hajou Bei (district Ningbo), where they assemble Emgrand family cars, as well as 1.3-liter engines. It is difficult to call the place we were brought to a factory. It is more like a tiny industrial town, with many production facilities, testing sites and residential buildings for employees.
According to representatives of Geely, the location of the plant was not chosen by chance. About 90% of all components are produced within a 300-kilometer radius of the city. In addition, Ningbo has a well-developed transport infrastructure: seaports, railroads, the federal highway and even an airport.
Geely Holding has research and development centers in Hangzhou, Ningbo, Gothenburg and Coventry, and design offices in Barcelona, Shanghai, Gothenburg and Los Angeles.
Unfortunately, we have not been able to see with our own eyes how Emgrands are born. But we have visited the line of pre-production assembly of cars which are studied in the R&D center, located next door. There, the Chinese adjust the equipment for the conveyors and test new solutions, thanks to which the Gili cars are getting better and better day by day.
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As in other Geely factories, Hajou Bay has a high degree of automation in production. The automaker is phasing out human labor in favor of robots. The investment in equipment improvements is enormous, but so is the return on the investment. After all, the transition to automation greatly reduces the likelihood of silly mistakes, and this has a direct impact on the quality of machinery and, consequently, on the image of the brand.
Geely has founded its own university and three colleges, which together graduate about 10,000 skilled professionals annually.
At its manufacturing facilities the automaker uses mainly European equipment. Japanese and American equipment is found in the shops less frequently. And is it possible to call Geely cars Chinese junk, if they are designed by foreign specialists, and assembled on the same equipment used by the world’s leading manufacturers? Hardly.
The Chinese also pay due attention to all kinds of pre-sale tests. For the checks, Geely has built several huge rooms, which hold more than a hundred different test benches. In one of them, the engines are continuously fired, the suspension is ruthlessly shaken, and the noise level is measured.
Geely is the only private Chinese company listed in the Fortune Global 500. Moreover, Geely is recognized as the most innovative company in China.
But much more impressive are the hangars, which reveal the effects of radiation and interference on electronics, the degree of body vibration in different weather conditions and the level of toxic emissions at different humidity and temperature.
Chinese crossover Geely Atlas conquered the Nurburgring racetrack
Geely is preparing a few more new products for Russia.
The Chinese Geely company will need more than a year to change the attitude of Russians to their cars. Improving the image, as you know, is not a quick process. But for now, the state of the automaker in our country is not very happy. According to the Association of European Businesses (AEB), the company lost 26% of its sales in the first quarter of this year.
And the question is not about tens of thousands of sold cars. In January-March, only 379 people became the owners of cars with Geely nameplates. The company moved from the third place in the most popular celestial manufacturers rating to fifth place, passing ahead Lifan, Chery, Zotye and Haval.
However, the company hopes that in the near future the situation will change dramatically. The new Geely Atlas crossover, which was launched on our market at the end of February, is supposed to pull the brand in leaders. By the way, the portal “AutoView” has already tested the Chinese novelty, which, in opinion of many experts, will be able to impose competition even to Korean SUV. You can learn about all the minuses and pluses of the model by reading the material posted here.