Geely will be introducing it’s Geely BL sports car into the European market soon, with a targetted launch date set sometime in 2008. It will be banking on low cost as one of the attraction points – anyone looking for a cheap sporty ride to buy the car but does not mind the fact that it only comes with either a 1.3 litre or a 1.5 litre engine. Transmission options are a 5-speed manual and a slushbox likely to be a 4-speed with overdrive. The car has discs at the front and drums at the rear, and the 1.3 and 1.5 litre 16-valve engines make 84 horsepower and 92 horsepower respectively, both at 6,000rpm. Torque output is 110Nm at 5,200rpm for the 1.3 and 128Nm at a lower 3,400rpm for the 1.5 litre. These engines push a 980kg car. Mostly all show and no go, but it doesn’t look terribly underpowered. Notice the classic Chinese design element – tiny wheels which barely fill up the wheel arches.
Geely has caused some amusement with it’s Geely Merie, a sedan that mimics the Mercedes Benz C-class. They are China’s largest privately-owned car manufacturer. The Geely Beauty Leopard (yes, that’s what BL means) sells for as low as US$7,500 (RM27,600) in China. The car will probably be rechristened for the European market as a car called something that sounds that silly probably will be a sales turnoff. This car falls into the tiny spoarts car segment, and I’m reminded of the old school Mazda Eunos and Toyota Sera. No confirmed prices yet, but we’ll know sometime closer to 2008.