News of a jointly developed platform first surfaced in 2015, but it had previously been assumed that those models will debut with a Geely badge.
Geely is now said to be introducing a new brand operating under the codename “L”, designed to compete with other Chinese-foreign companies like the joint-venture between General Motors and SAIC Motor Corp. The brand could then be pushed to a wider global launch.
While little is known about the new “L” brand, business paper Reuters reports that the first model will be an SUV based on the Compact Modular Architecture (CMA) developed by Volvo and Geely.
Reports also claim that a sedan is in development.
Industry analysts have raised concern over the Chinese car maker’s plans to introduce yet another brand into China’s already crowded market, strong performance from the company suggests the move could pay off.
Geely’s sales topped 510,000 units in 2015, outperforming the Chinese market’s overall growth rate. Additionally, Volvo earnings are said to have tripled, leading to the Swedish car maker predicting record sales for 2016.
If this latest report of a new brand proves accurate, it would mark a change in direction for Geely, which just two years ago announced that it would streamline its offerings by eliminating three sub-brands.
Reuters claim that new factories will be established for the L-branded cars, with sales to begin in China before then being exported to other markets.