Make / Model Search

Future models - Geely - IG - concept

Geely to take on Tata with ‘world’s cheapest’ car

Cheap as: Geely's IG concept is said to herald the world's cheapest car.

Chinese car-maker Geely set to undercut Tata’s Nano with IG-based mini-car

10 May 2010

RAPIDLY expanding Chinese car-maker Geely looks set to rival Indian auto giant Tata Motors with the ‘world’s cheapest car’, offering the production version of its IG concept in India from 2012 – or earlier – at a price that undercuts the circa-$2500 Tata Nano.

While Geely remains on track to launch in Australia in the third quarter of this year with the 1.5-litre MK light car – a strategy GoAuto revealed exclusively in August last year – the Chinese manufacturer, which recently bought Volvo, is reportedly preparing to make a major assault on the Indian market with an IG-based model.

Previously shown with a single door and 3+1 seating layout, the IG (which stands for Intelligent Geely) was shown at the recent Beijing motor show in 2+2 configuration complete with gullwing doors and, significantly, a production-oriented 88kW electric motor.

While Geely has plans to put the full-electric powertrain into mass production inside three years, the company said in its official literature at the show that the vehicle also had “the availability of a 1.0-litre three-cylinder gasoline engine powertrain with CVVT, providing outstanding fuel economy while maintaining dynamics”.

203 center image Geely is still to specify consumption figures, but the small petrol engine, which develops around 50kW and 90Nm, is also understood to be available with a fuel-saving idle-stop feature.

The gullwing doors are not expected appear on the production version, but Geely said the model complies with its ‘Safety First R&D theory’ and, with a strong body and the fitment of ‘multi-functioned’ airbags, was designed to achieve a four-star crash-test rating under Chinese NCAP.

According to Britain’s Autocar, Geely is expected to enter the Indian market with the IG-based Nano rival in 2012, or earlier, and based on current exchange rates could hit the streets with a sticker price as low as £1500 ($A2470).

A Geely spokesperson told Autocar: “The concept has had a very positive reaction, and with the car not launching until 2012 there is time for us to expand our network before then.”

Tata’s Nano also seats four but uses a smaller (rear-mounted) 24kW 624cc two-cylinder engine paired with a four-speed manual gearbox. Average fuel economy is 5L/100km.

Geely said at the Beijing motor show that the all-electric version of the IG was designed with a small battery to keep the cost down, with high mileages not expected for such a compact vehicle. Under the company’s ‘cost theory’, the entire cost of the IG EV – not including powertrain – was 10,000 RMB ($A1623).

“Consumers may choose different standards of power system based upon their actual requirements,” the company said. “It resembles the purchase of a digital camera with various capability of memory cards according to practical demands.”

Chairman of the China Machinery Industry Federation, Wang Ruixiang, said Geely was a “model of China’s auto industry growth”.

“I see Geely a model of China’s auto industry growth, particularly the acquisition of Volvo has caused so much attention,” he said. “I am impressed most by Geely’s efforts in research and development, in which they have made huge investments and recruited a large number of talents.

“To develop China’s auto industry we must have our own technology and intellectual property rights – we cannot grow strong without them. Now all the auto brands of the world are selling their products in China but I hope one day the Chinese brands are running throughout the world. Where there is road there is Chinese cars, and more Geely cars.”

As GoAuto has reported, Geely’s move into the Australian market will commence in Western Australia with the MK light sedan in third quarter, with eastern markets coming on stream during 2011.

Importer Chinese Automotive Distributors is close to securing Australian homologation for the hatchback version of the MK, with the 1.0-litre LC mini-car (sold as the Panda in China) to follow in the first quarter of 2011. The 1.8-litre EC7 small car is due to appear soon after that.

In 2008, Geely announced that it was basing its future model strategy on five technology platforms, from which 15 product platforms and 42 ‘product types’ could be derived.

These include eight engine platforms, seven gearbox platforms (including those developed by Australian supplier Drivetrain Systems International) and full-electric and hybrid powertrains.

Last month, Geely had on its stand 39 “complete models”, in addition to concept cars. Of these, around a dozen production or near-production models have been developed for export to right-hand drive markets.

“Three quarters of them are based on sufficient research and development, with five of them going to the market this year (and) eight models going to production within a year,” the company said. “Other models will also appear on the market in two to three years.”

Read more

Click to share

Click below to follow us on
Facebook  Twitter  Instagram

Geely models

Catch up on all of the latest industry news with this week's edition of GoAutoNews
Click here