BEIJING: China’s Geely plans to roll out electric vehicles under a new marque with different branding and sales strategies, people familiar with the matter said, as the Volvo owner looks 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, according to three people, who declined to be named as the plan is not yet public. Reuters reported the plans for Lingling last month.
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), the sources said.
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 to 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.