Geely goes cheap
Our first Chinese sedan is put in the bargain bin, writes Neil Dowling
AN $11,990 drive-away price is confirmed for Australia’s first Chinese passenger car. The Geely MK 1.5-litre sedan (right) will be our equal-cheapest car, matched by the 1.3-litre Proton S16.
A shipload of 100 sedans has arrived in Perth and will go on sale within a fortnight.
Australian distributor, Perth-based John Hughes, says the MK will be sold only in Western Australia.
The high-profile dealer, the state’s biggest, has built a new showroom close to the city centre for Geely.
He says the MK will be sold only in WA mainly because it is currently the sole Geely product.
‘‘ I can’t get dealers to commit finances to a new showroom to support one model,’’ he says.
‘‘When other models arrive, it will be available across the country.’’
The second reason for the containment of sales in WA is because the MK doesn’t have electronic stability control and won’t meet the 2011 vehicle standard of Victoria.
‘‘But the next Geely model, the Panda LC, will go on sale around the middle of this year as an automatic and with stability control,’’ he says.
‘‘This will be followed by the bigger 1.8-litre EC7 sedan in the third quarter.’’
The MK is a four-door sedan with only a five-speed manual. Its standard features include a five-year warranty, airconditioning, two airbags, remote central locking, alloy wheels and electric windows.
A second shipment of 100 cars is expected next month.
Hughes, who has huge success with his multi-franchise dealerships, was the original distributor and retailer of Hyundai in the mid-1980s.
He has often been Australia’s biggest-selling Hyundai dealer by volume.
BRAZIL has come to the rescue for those sad at the passing of the Subaru Brumby and who can’t quite bring themselves to get behind the wheel of a Proton Jumbuck.
The Fiat Strada Sporting (above) is the mini ute for all seasons — the only downside is that you have to go to Brazil to drive it.
Fiat importer Ateco Automotive says it won’t come here.
‘‘It is a left-hand-drive only vehicle and has never been engineered for right-hand drive,’’ says Edward Rowe of Ateco.
It is based on the Strada Extended Cab and has a 97kW/249Nm 1.8-litre four-cylinder engine driving the front wheels through a five-speed manual gearbox.
It costs the equivalent of $27,000. By comparison, a Corolla in Brazil is about $52,000. In Australia it costs $21,000.