CHENGDU: KHALIL HANWARE | ARAB NEWS STAFF
Published — Thursday 18 April 2013
Last update 18 April 2013 6:27 am
Haji Husein Alireza & Co. Ltd. is gearing up to launch Chinese auto manufacturer Geely’s first SUV Emgrand X7 model into the Saudi market in June.
Husam Al-Hanbali, general manager — sales and marketing at Haji Husein Alireza & Co., while visiting the Geely’s Chengdu SUV assembly plant with the media group from Saudi Arabia, told Arab News that Geely’s line of new models are very popular in Saudi Arabia.
“After the successful Emgrand X7’s launch in China last year, it is coming to Saudi Arabia for the first time,” Al-Hanbali said.
He said four Geely models — LC Panda, GX2, EC7 and EC8 — have already been launched in Saudi Arabia since September 2011.
“We launched Geely cars into the Saudi market when prices of other Japanese cars were very high. We provided right products with equivalent Japanese technology at the right time,” he added.
He said sales of Geely vehicles were very satisfactory in the first year after their launch.
Al-Hanbali said Haji Husein Alireza & Co., the sole distributor of Geely vehicles across the Kingdom, sold 13,000 Geely vehicles in Saudi Arabia and took the market share of 1.7 percent in 2012.
“Our expectations are high this year after the launch of Emgrand X7 SUV model in June. We are targeting to sell 18,000 vehicles this year in the Saudi market and take the market share of over two percent,” he added.
“Last year it ranked No. 8 among car distributors in Saudi Arabia, but this year our aim is to rank No. 7,” he stressed.
“Our distribution network is excellent in the Kingdom,” he said.
“We have 20 branches throughout the Kingdom and our aim is to open four more branches in Jeddah, Taif, Hofuf and Jubail,” he added.
Haijing Hou, group vice president of Zhejiang Geely Holding Group. Co. Ltd. and general manager of Geely’s Chengdu SUV assembly plant, said the production capacity at present is about 80,000 units at this plant annually because it is working in one shift.
But Hou, who joined the company last April, said: “We will launch another night shift soon, so the production capacity will double to 160,000 units per year. So from present 250 cars per day, the production will increase to 500 cars daily.”
“Because of huge demand in China, we sell about 85 percent of our vehicles in the domestic market and 15 percent overseas,” Hou added.
But he said: “We are aiming for half and half. So we will sell half of vehicles in the domestic market and half overseas in future.”
Earlier, Leon Chang, project manager at Geely International Corporation, gave a briefing to visiting Saudi delegation about the Geely Chengdu plant, which is located in the economic and technological development zone in east Chengdu, Sichuan Province.
He said the plant was registered in October 2007 with capital of 50 million yuan.
The first stage construction started in February 2009 and completed in the same year at the same time, the plant successfully started producing Geely’s first SUV model.
Chang said at present the plant had built up automobile production lines that composed of four automobile manufacturing processes which are pressing, welding, painting and assembling and a wide range of supporting facilities.
The first SUV model GX7 was launched at Beijing auto show in April 2012.
GX7 was designed by the globally renowned car designer Giorgetto Giugiaro.
He said, in July 2012, Geely Chengdu plant was granted the title of “Safety Culture Construction Model enterprise” by Chengdu government.
It was also awarded as the “Innovative Enterprise” in the 18th Chinese machinery manufacturing industry management modernization competition.