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Geely China to soon handle PH operations of the brand

With current distributor Sojitz G Auto Philippines to be dissolved

Geely needs a fresh start in the Philippine car market. PHOTO FROM GEELY

Time indeed flies.

We still remember reporting in July 2019 that Geely would be distributed in the Philippines by Japan’s Sojitz Corporation. In September that year, the brand launch was made official. I was right with my choice for my title for that story:

Here’s the reason we’re optimistic about Geely’s success in PH

Geely quickly became popular here with one bestseller after another: Coolray, Azkarra, Okavango, Emgrand, and GX3 Pro. And depending on whom you believed, either Geely or MG was the number one Chinese carmaker in our market.

As if their fates were intertwined, these two Chinese brands are now following the same route: After five successful years being managed by a non-Chinese distributor, Geely will soon part ways with Sojitz G Auto Philippines (SGAP) and will be operated by Geely Automotive International Corporation (GAIC) of China. You will recall that SAIC Motor took over the MG distributorship last year from The Covenant Car Company Inc. after half a decade of positive performance.

I first heard this story last month, before we went to China for the Beijing Auto Show. However, Geely would neither confirm nor deny the news.

Earlier this week, our writer Hans Bosshard informed me that GAIC executive Bob Lin wanted to meet our team. Hans knows Bob from the recent Beijing trip. Funny that they had to add that “this [meeting] isn’t confirmation of the rumors regarding GAIC and SGAP.”

Unfortunately, I couldn’t meet them because I had an out-of-town assignment. But I didn’t need their confirmation; trustworthy sources had been telling me for weeks.

This is for the best of the brand, which has been reeling from the bad rap it got from the after-sales issue it encountered last year

What do I think of this development?

To be honest, I think this is for the best of the brand, which has been reeling from the bad rap it got from the after-sales issue it encountered in August last year. Many customers are still finding it hard to trust Geely dealers after that total fiasco. Time for a fresh start.

I can’t wait to personally meet the GAIC team. I want to know their plans for our market. Hopefully, those plans will not include hostile brand ambassadors.

NOTE: According to a person within the Geely circle, it is Geely Automobile International Corporation and not Geely Automotive International Corporation (which is what the official Geely Philippines website says). “Our bad, hindi na napalitan,” the person apologizes.

Vernon B. Sarne

Vernon is the founder and editor-in-chief of VISOR. He has been an automotive journalist since July 1995. He became one by serendipity, walking into the office of a small publishing company and applying for a position he had no idea was for a local car magazine. God has watched over him throughout his humble journey. He writes the ‘Spoiler’ column.