Zhejiang Geely offered an insight into the company’s background at the announcement of the Proton-Geely deal yesterday, and one of the presentation slides made note of Volvo Cars and of its revival and current growth, something the Chinese automaker was naturally proud to highlight, albeit subtly.

For good reason – when it purchased the Swedish automaker from Ford in August 2010 for US$1.5 billion in cash and debt, Volvo wasn’t in the pink of health, the company shifting just 335,000 units in 2009. Many didn’t think that the acquisition would amount to much in terms of success, that the brand could be saved by the Chinese company.

As developments have shown, the gamble paid off, and handsomely at that. Geely accomplished the turnaround with an injection of capital to the tune of US$11 billion, the investment used to revitalise the line-up with fresh models and develop innovative technologies. Key Volvo personnel were retained, which helped stability and continuity.

Products and technologies brought about by the transformation programme include the XC90, S90 and V90 as well as new modular platforms, the Scalable Product Architecture (SPA) and Compact Modular Architecture (CMA). Developed for larger and smaller cars respectively, both vehicle platforms are capable of incorporating either hybrid or fully electric car technologies.

An emphasis on electrification has also come about. In October 2015, the automaker announced a comprehensive series of electrification strategies, and these will see the introduction of plug-in hybrids across its entire range, the development of an entirely new range of electrified smaller cars and the advent of a fully electric car by 2019.

Underpinned by the CMA platform, the latter is set to be built in China for global export. The lofty ambitions on this front also targets to introduce up to a million electrified vehicles into the market by 2025.

All this has been reflected in strong sales growth over the last few years. By 2014, sales had climbed to 466,000 cars, and 2015 saw the automaker registering 503,127 units, the first time Volvo sold more than half a million cars in its 89-year history. Last year, it achieved its aim for a hat-trick of annual record sales, with 2016 sales amounting to 534,332 units.

The success Geely has had with Volvo augurs well for a similar transformation to take place with Proton, so it is hoped. The Chinese company has clearly stated it aims to revitalise Proton, and has pledged to make its global resources, knowledge and management skills available to the national carmaker.

Do you think Geely will be able to achieve its target of making Proton the number one Malaysian brand again, and into a leading brand in Southeast Asia? Share your thoughts with us in the comments section.

Tags: