Geely aims to offer ease of ownership

* Chinese brand could offer fixed-price servicing * Complimentary loan cars also possible * Company launches in UK in early 2013...

Geely aims to offer ease of ownership

Geely is planning to sell on ease of ownership - rather than simply price - when it arrives in the UK next year, according to the man charged with masterminding the launch.

Geely will launch with two cars, the Emgrand EC7 and a smaller hatchback. The engines offered initially will be 1.5- and 1.8-litre petrol units, although Geely has started joint development of diesel engines with Volvo, which it owns.

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The Chinese brand is now recruiting UK dealerships and its said to have had nearly 500 applications. From this it will hand-pick between 30 and 40 by its self-imposed deadline at the end of this year. Sales could then start in early 2013, although its possible that some orders could be taken before the end of 2012.

John Russell, Geely Auto UK boss, says the firm hopes to offer peace of mind. Were looking at an extended warranty [five years and 100,000 miles will be standard], he said, but more than that: we want a buying proposition where you just dont have to worry about anything. That means fixing costs as well as offering a keen price.

Geely has already revealed that the EC7 will start from around 10,000 - a price more commonly associated with superminis instead of larger family cars such as the Ford Focus and Hyundai i30.

Russell says Geely is still finalising how its customer service approach will be realised in material terms, although he admitted that fixed-price servicing and complimentary loan vehicles (Youll always have a car on your driveway) are among the policies under consideration.

The EC7 has long been earmarked for introduction around Europe. Last year Geely put the car through the EuroNCAP safety tests, in which it scored four stars, one off the maximum rating.

John McIlroy