Geely goes cheap

Our first Chi­nese sedan is put in the bar­gain bin, writes Neil Dowl­ing

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Car Sales -

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.

NEIL DOWL­ING

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