A UAE dealer is try­ing to change buy­ers’s views of Chi­nese cars, re­ports

Shoshana Ke­dem

7 Days in Dubai - - BUSINESS - Shoshana@7days.ae

Chi­nese auto-maker Geely is re­defin­ing the per­cep­tion of Chi­nese-made mod­els, with a new fleet of cars and a suc­cess­ful push into the GCC mar­ket.

Geely’s plat­form of sporty sedans and af­ford­able SUVs are a far cry from peo­ple’s tra­di­tional view of Chi­nese cars as cheap and un­re­li­able.

Hav­ing won over con­sumers in Saudi and Oman, the brand is now mak­ing a play for a share of the UAE mar­ket.

“The UAE, be­ing the most in­flu­en­tial mar­ket in the re­gion, is a good step for them, that’s why we de­cided to take on the deal­er­ship for them,” said Raymond Ma, Gen­eral Man­ager at Union Mo­tors, the dealer for Geely in the UAE.

“For us as an emerg­ing brand busi­ness, the last 10 months has def­i­nitely been head­ing in the right di­rec­tion.”

Geely has opened show­rooms in Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Ras Al Khaimah, with a ser­vice cen­tre in each lo­ca­tion.

“We built this na­tion­wide pres­ence to gain con­sumer con­fi­dence in the Geely brand,” Ma said. “We pride our­selves in giv­ing the cus­tomer ser­vice ex­pe­ri­ence to any­one who enquires about buy­ing a car, ser­vic­ing a car or pur­chas­ing a car.”

Geely has sold 600 cars in the first ten months of trad­ing in Dubai’s tough auto mar­ket, Ma says, with their top cus­tomers be­ing In­dian na­tion­als then Emi­ratis.

“We were sur­prised by how quickly they ac­cepted the prod­uct,” he said of their pre­vi­ous model, the EX7 mini SUV. The car comes with full nappa leather di­a­mond stitch and al­can­tara roof-lin­ing that starts from Dhs45,000.

“We’ve found that the Emi­ratis, es­pe­cially the fe­males, like to buy it as their sec­ond run-around car for their maids and their driv­ers,” Ma added. The brand started in Saudi five years ago and sold 15,000 units in its first year.

“The GCC, es­pe­cially Saudi, where we have been op­er­at­ing for the last five years, are def­i­nitely hav­ing great suc­cess,” Ma said.

China is the world’s largest car mar­ket, while the Kore­ans, with Hyundai and KIA are their big­gest lo­cal com­peti­tor, Ma said.

Geely re­cently launched their most am­bi­tious car yet, the Em­grand GT, de­signed by renowned Bri­tish Volvo de­signer Peter Hor­bury.

It is the first car based on joint ar­chi­tec­ture de­vel­oped with Volvo, which was bought by Geely in 2010, and was crowned China’s car of the year at the 2016 Bei­jing Auto Show. With the Em­grand GT’s oys­ter rip­ple grill and classy style, the sporty sedan wouldn’t look out of place on Dubai roads.

“We’ve al­ready taken some or­ders from Emi­ratis on the new car,” Ma said. “We’ll be in­tro­duc­ing a lot more mod­els in the next 12-18 months that started with this new plat­form, the feed­back that we’ve got so far is very pos­i­tive and we hope, will only get bet­ter.”

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