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August 8, 2019

Could Geely Shake Up the Local Automotive Industry?

Geely is making a comeback, and this time they’ll have backing from an unlikely source: Sojitz Corporation. Sojitz is a “sogo shosha” or a general trading company, and this means they’re involved in the buying, selling, importing, and exporting of various goods including automobiles. Now, a Japanese trading company importing Chinese cars is an odd combination in itself, but it must not be forgotten, Sojitz used to own 49 percent of Mitsubishi Motors Philippines before divesting their stake in June of last year.

Their time in the local automotive scene though was far from over. Since then, Sojitz has been extremely busy, establishing the exclusive importation and distributorship for the Mitsubishi-Fuso truck brand in November and now, through a new wholly-owned subsidiary, Sojitz G Auto Philippines Corporation (SGAP), they’re going to bring in Geely cars, MPVs, and SUVs.

As a brand, not much is known about Geely, except for its short-lived existence here under the CATS Motors group (we even got to test the Geely LC aka Panda). Internationally though, Geely has made waves snapping up brands such as Proton (49.9 percent owned), Lotus (51 percent owned), and Volvo (99 percent owned).

A privately-owned automotive group headquartered in Hangzhou, Zhejiang, the Chinese brand has embarked on several milestones which they’ve dubbed as “Eras.” Today, at Era 3.0, the company discontinued all of their other Mainland brands such as Emgrand, and consolidated everything under Geely. Starting in 2014, they have one focus in mind: “making refined cars for everyone.”

One of the products in the Era 3.0 is the Geely Binyue (literally translated as, “More Fun”). Set to arrive in the Philippines by the end of the year as the Coolray, it’s a sub-compact crossover, along the same lines as the Hyundai Kona, MG ZS, and upcoming Kia Seltos.

The Binyue, or Coolray if you prefer, is designed in Shanghai by a team of young and global design team. Upfront, it has Geely’s signature “expanding cosmos” grille, while at the side, it has a wing-shaped waistline. At the back? A rear bumper with an integrated diffuser,quad tailpipes, and a rather exaggerated spoiler.

Inside, Geely says the cockpit’s inspired by a jet, and this is seen in the jet-throttle inspired shifter and center console. It’s got all sorts of cool tech too such as a 7-inch full LCD instrument panel, and a 10.25-inch floating infotainment system.

Built on the BMA (B-segment Modular Architecture), it’s somewhat related to the Lynk & Co 01 and Volvo XC40 (these both ride on the CMA or Compact Modular Architecture); it can even be decked out with advanced safety tech too such as blind spot detection, lane keeping assist, a 360-degree parking camera, and even automated parking assist. However, unlike the XC40, it has to make do solely with front-wheel drive and a torsion beam rear suspension.

As for the engine, it seems the likely candidate to make it locally is the 1.5-liter 3-cylinder turbocharged gasoline engine. It makes around 175 horsepower and 255 Nm of torque which are pretty good numbers for a crossover that weighs 1,340 kilograms (you can check the specs below). There is a 1.0-liter 3-cylinder variant as well, but that one only comes with a 6-speed manual.

Will Sojitz strike gold with their decision to bring in Geely? Only time will tell. However, if this is their opening salvo, it looks they’re coming in strong, and they’re coming in hot.

2020 Geely Coolray (aka Binyue) G-power 260T
  • Overall Length: 4,330 mm
  • Overall Width: 1,800 mm
  • Overall Height: 1,609 mm
  • Wheelbase: 2,600 mm
  • Curb Weight: 1,340 kg
  • Trunk Volume: 330 liters
  • Minimum Ground Clearance: 196 mm
  • Engine: 1.5TD Three-Cylinder Turbo Direct Injection
  • Displacement: 1,477 cc
  • Fuel Tank: 45 liters
  • Maximum Power: 175 horsepower @ 5,500 rpm
  • Maximum Torque: 255 Nm @ 1,500-4,000 rpm
  • Transmission: 7-speed DCT
  • Fuel Consumption: 16.39 km/L
  • Maximum Speed: 195 km/h
  • Drive Mode: Front-wheel Drive
  • Front Suspension: Independent, MacPherson Strut
  • Rear Suspension: Torsion Beam Axle
  • Power Steering: Electric

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