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Sofa, so good: Geely still chasing Volvo

When Li Shufu began making cars in 1997, he wasn’t daunted by the idea of taking on the industry’s big boys (see WiC22). Cars were simple to make: “they’re just four wheels plus a sofa,” he said.

Now Geely’s boss looks close to buying Volvo from Ford. A Wall Street Journal report outlines his turnaround plan: lower cost production in China, plus “grander” and “more spectacular” models to suit local tastes. The goal is to sell 200,000 Volvo cars a year in the Chinese market (up from 12,600 today) and 600,000 annually in Europe and America (400,000 now).

“Time and again Geely has accomplished what others said was not possible,” says Michael Dunne, an independent auto analyst. “But to boost sales in North America and Europe to 600,000 – that would require a stroke of genius.”


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