Chinese billionaire Li Shufu, which back in 2010 bought Volvo from Ford and then orchestrated the Swedish brand’s five-year renewal, has decided it was now time to focus on the parent Zhejiang Geely Holding Group.
In a swift and powerful move, he decided to axe three brands – the carmaker’s Emgrand, Gleagle and Englon marques that were born not too long ago – in 2009 – would be killed off, and any model from the automaker would be subsequently sold under the core “Geely” nameplate. According to the company, the strategy also has the Hangzhou, China-based automaker shifting away its focus from “good yet affordable” vehicles to more “refined cars.” The carmaker wants to stand out in the growing crowd that forms the world’s biggest auto market, just as local brands have been constantly loosing market share to foreign brands led by Volkswagen AG and General Motors. Li’s decision to overhaul the company comes as the carmaker’s sales have dropped 22% in November.
The Chinese automaker has tapped former Volvo Cars design director Peter Horbury which crossed over when Geely’s billionaire owner Li secured the deal to buy the Swedish company from Ford back in 2010. Now, the brand has branched out towards the full-sized sedan, for example, where the company has to compete mostly with foreign players, such as the Toyota Camry and Mazda 6. According to analysts, consolidating the group into just one brand, the company would make big savings when it comes to budgets, while efficiency would be greatly improved.