China’s Geely claims to have taken more than 30,000 digital pre-orders for its brand new Icon small SUV ahead of the completely online product launch this week.
The company - which has launched an online test-drive, sales and servicing portal, and which owns the subscription-based car brand Lynk & Co - also claims to have fast-tracked the fitment of a bolstered air purification system in response to the Coronavirus.
Geely’s embrace of digital delivery means the new Icon has apparently attracted an audience even as retail sales of passenger cars in China fell by a staggering 92 per cent in the first 16 days of February, according to the China Passenger Car Association (CPCA), due to the virus.
So what’s this Icon all about?
It retains the same design language as the 2018 concept, which offered what the company called in design-speak “a purer more 8-bit analog form”. The final product apparently had input from Geely’s global design centres, including an exterior penned in California, an interior in Barcelona, before sign-off in Shanghai.
“The minimalist design used on the Geely Icon also represents Geely’s vision for the future of design which the brand envisions will see a return to design fundamentals,” the company claims. That’s countered by the ultra-modern slim headlights and flush pop-out door handles.
The cabin sports dual 10.25 inch screens and is all linked up to Geely’s remote phone app, while “the minimalist analog-inspired design helps give the cabin a futuristic sci-fi feel”. It’s undeniably attractive, and reminds this writer of the latest Citroen products.
Then there’s that air purification system, which at the very least is contextual.
“In response to the new Coronavirus epidemic, Geely Auto developed in record time a new Intelligent Air Purification System (IAPS) that is N95 certified. This highly efficient air purification system works in tandem with the Icon’s air conditioner to isolate and eliminate harmful elements in the cabin air including bacteria and viruses,” the company claims.
Under the bonnet is a petrol engine, with 1.5-litre capacity. It’s helped by a 48V electrical system that adds 10kW/45Nm at low speeds to fill in any torque hole and replaces the stop/start system, taking the system output to 140kW/300Nm. It’s mated to a seven-speed DCT.
Geely claims fuel use of 5.7 L/100km and a 0-100km/h time of 7.9 seconds.
It’s worth noting that Volvo and Geely have announced they intend to merge their internal-combustion engine (ICE) operations in the near future.
Geely also claims level two driver-assist features enabled by 12 ultrasonic radars, millimetre wave radar, and five high-def cameras. It features active cruise control, lane-keep assistance, autonomous emergency braking and pedestrian recognition, one-button automatic parking, and a 360-degree camera.
“Geely Icon’s launch not only showcases the core strength of Geely’s global development network, it also shows our forward thinking and demonstrates the high-tech digital future we are all moving toward,” claims president and CEO, An Conghui.
“It represents Geely’s leap from merely meeting user demands to creating leading trends. Just as the Geely Icon will become a new icon for global SUVs, Geely Auto will also become an icon in terms of automotive technologies and global auto brands.”
Given Geely has global aspirations and owns Volvo, Lotus, Lynk & Co, and London EV Company (maker of the Black Cab), it's a given the Icon and its ilk will eventually be sold elsewhere. But Australia is not a priority market.
In the meantime, Kia will gladly sell you a Seltos!
MORE: Geely coverage