China’s Geely increases presence in Korean EV market

2023.09.19 14:13:01 | 2023.09.19 15:30:40

Volvo EX30. [Courtesy of Volvo]이미지 확대

Volvo EX30. [Courtesy of Volvo]



Automotive companies are seeking new avenues for expansion, primarily in overseas markets, as China’s electric vehicle market, one of the largest in the world has somewhat slowed down.

One such player is China’s leading privately-owned automotive company, Zhejiang Geely Holding Group (ZGH). ZGH has been making significant strides in the Korean market, utilizing its existing brands for luxury car sales, offering affordable commercial EVs, and forming partnerships with Korean companies to increase its presence.

ZGH has strategically invested in renowned international automotive brands, such as Volvo in Sweden and Lotus in the U.K. Notably, these brands leverage ZGH’s underlying technology in their pursuit of electrification.

For instance, Volvo’s upcoming EX30, slated for pre-orders in Korea in November, is produced in China and employs ZGH’s in-house developed electric vehicle platform, SEA. This marks Volvo’s debut in the compact electric sports utility vehicle (SUV) segment.

Lotus has been expanding its operations in Korea since May, following exclusive distribution rights granted to Kolon Mobility Group. The British sports car brand is set to release the high-end electric SUV, Eletre, in Korea next year, with a price tag exceeding 100 million won ($76,000). This model, developed based on the EPA platform derived from SEA, will be entirely produced in China.

ZGH has also entered the Korean market for affordable commercial EVs by collaborating with a Korean SME. Korean auto parts supplier Myoung Shin Industry has been selling the 1-ton electric van, SE-A, since July through a dedicated automotive sales company. This model has a retail price of 39.8 million won, but with the purchase subsidy, consumers can actually buy this car for some 20 million won. SE-A has been selling more than 200 units per month in July and August, making it the No. 1 selling imported commercial vehicle.

ZGH is also broadening its presence in the Korean market through an indirect channel, establishing partnerships with a Korean automotive company.

Last year, ZGH acquired a 34.02 percent stake in Renault Korea Motors. Renault Korea is actively pursuing a project to launch three eco-friendly vehicles from next year until 2027.

In terms of annual new car sales, the Korean auto market is only 6 percent of China’s. Last year, a total of 26.86 million new vehicles were sold in China, 16 times more than in Korea.

By Moon Gwang-min and Minu Kim

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