Sources say that China’s Geely plans to roll out electric vehicles under a new marque with different branding and sales strategies.
This is in a bid to take on its main EV rival Tesla with higher-end vehicles.
The brand, positioned in the premium segment and named “Zeekr”, will be housed under Geely’s to-be-launched EV entity Lingling Technologies.
Geely, the owner of Volvo Cars and 9.7% of Daimler AG, will roll out models under the new marque based on its open-source EV chassis, announced in September and called Sustainable Experience Architecture (SEA).
It will be a new attempt to go up-market by Geely, and backs founder and Chairman Li Shufu’s long-held ambition to make premium cars “like Mercedes-Benz” in a bid take on EV leader Tesla Inc.
Geely will open showrooms, or “hubs”, in city centres to sell cars at a fixed price, departing from traditions to sell cars through dealerships – marketing tactics pioneered by Tesla, which last year saw sales expand quickly in China, the world’s biggest car market.
The plan follows a flurry of tie-ups by Geely earlier this year as the automaker pursues its goal of becoming a leading EV contract manufacturer and engineering service provider.
China’s automakers largely compete with entry-level and mass-market manufacturers including Volkswagen and Toyota, but EV maker Nio Inc sells cars with higher prices and counts BMW as a rival.