The Chief Executive of the Chinese auto manufacturer Geely, Daniel Li, has justified the company’s choice to boost car sales in Russia after international competitors withdrew due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
According to Daniel, the parent firm allowed its various divisions to make their own strategic decisions, and he was unwilling to order them to leave Russia.
Talking to Financial Times at the sidelines of the Future of the Car Summit in London, Daniel Li said:
“I totally don’t see why we have to force every brand to punish the Russian customer.”
Li went on to add that the pullout from Russia “is something decided by Geely Auto, not Geely Holding. Geely Holding totally gives autonomy to Geely Auto as well as any other brands [under the portfolio] that are Volvo, Lotus, or Polestar.” The Geely holding group owns stakes in several large Western carmakers including Aston Martin, Volvo Cars, and Mercedes, all of which pulled out of Russia following last year’s invasion.
Sales of Chinese-branded models now account for nearly 40% of Russia’s new car market, up from around 10% in the first quarter of 2022 (before the invasion). According to sources, the number of Geely-branded vehicles sold in Russia for the first three months of this year increased by more than twofold from 5,543 units last year to 12,673 units. But Li said its sales volume in Russia is relatively a very small part of the total of 1.5m cars the company sells globally.
Li’s views come as Geely seeks on introducing its electric Zeekr brand into the European market. The company already has a large footprint in Europe thanks to Volvo, Lotus, and the London cab manufacturer LEVC. Zeekr is one of many Chinese electric car companies vying for a larger market share in European markets.
A computer animation professional with over 23 years of industry experience having served in leading organizations, TV channels & production facilities in Pakistan. An avid car enthusiast and petrolhead with an affection to deliver quality content to help shape opinions. Formerly written for PakWheels as well as major publications including Dawn. Founder of CarSpiritPK.com