Geely set to launch SUV in the UK within two years

Chinese car maker Geely will launch a European designed, Chinese built SUV model in 2017

Geely, the Chinese car maker that owns Volvo and London Taxi Company, plans to launch its first car in Europe in 2018, according to design boss Peter Horbury. 

Brit Horbury heads a team of 350 designers working out of Geely design studios in Gothenburg, Shanghai, Barcelona and Los Angeles, and the first fruits of their work to go on sale in Europe will be a Sweden-designed SUV.

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“Geely cars in Europe are not far away at all,” said Horbury, “I would say within the next two years. And the cars that first come to the UK are the cars that are being designed in Gothenburg right now. “The first car will be an SUV and it will be on a platform that we’ve shown before.”

Geely is sharing the development of a new small car platform with Volvo – the new Compact Modular Architecture (CMA) will also underpin a new small Volvo SUV, the XC40, as well as replacements for the S and V40 models. The new Geelys are also likely to feature a range of modular three-cylinder engines, based on the new range of Volvo 2.0-litre units.

Geely unveiled the Emgrand GS SUV at the Beijing show, a car that instantly wouldn’t look out of place on UK roads, impressing with its style and interior quality. And although the aim of the look of the new SUV is set to be international, it will still use design features that reflect Chinese culture.

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Horbury showed us how the grille on the GS reflects the ripples from a pebble dropping into a pond, while the intricate design of the speaker grilles also had Chinese design. Even some of the chrome edging in the cabin is meant to reflect an unequal line being drawn with a Chinese brush rather than the linear line created by a marker. European models are set to feature a unique feather-like lighting signature when they go on sale, too.

Horbury has transformed Geely’s design facility in the past four years from a team of just four to 350 people of multiple nationalities around the world. “We’ve taken design seriously,” said Horbury, “We’ve brought in some really serious, experienced people from around the world and matched them with some real hot-shot Chinese graduates. So we’ve got that mix of real expertise to help the young Chinese get their fantastic ideas into a producible way.”

Do you think the Geely SUV will succeed in the UK? Let us know in the comments section below...

Editor-in-chief

Steve Fowler has been editor-in-chief of Auto Express since 2011 and is responsible for all editorial content across the website and magazine. He has previously edited What Car?, Autocar and What Hi-Fi? and has been writing about cars for the best part of 30 years. 

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