Geely motors: a Chinese automaker enters international markets Ilan Alon,* Marc Fetscherin and Marc Sardy Rollins China Center & International Business Department Rollins College 1000 Holt Avenue 32789 Winter Park, FL, USA E-mail: email@example.com E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org E-mail: email@example.com *Corresponding author Abstract: On 22 January 2006, Shufu Li, the Director of International Marketing for Geely Motors, was rushing to the check-in counter at the Detroit Metropolitan Airport in order to travel back to Shanghai, China. He had just come from the Detroit International Auto Show where his company had presented its new car models. Geely (pronounced ‘Gee-Lee’) had been selling cars in China since 1997. In 2004, they had begun exporting cars to North Africa and Latin America. Geely had now set their sights on the USA, the largest automobile market in the world. Geely’s management was planning to sell cars in the US market for under US$10,000 by late 2008. The International Auto Show in Detroit was crucial in order to get feedback from and establish relationships with potential business partners, customers and the press. While he was boarding the plane, Mr. Li began to reflect on Geely’s transition from a regional manufacturer focused on the domestic Chinese market to an international player. Would the last few years of their marketing effort turn Geely into a global player in the auto market? Would US consumers warm up to the cars Geely had shown at the auto show? How could Geely overcome the lack of brand name and the negative country-of-origin quality image that Chinese manufacturers have? Keywords: international marketing; international business; globalisation; internationalisation; automotive; Geely Motors; Chinese companies. Reference to this paper should be made as follows: Alon, I., Fetscherin, M. and Sardy, M. (xxxx) ‘Geely motors: a Chinese automaker enters international markets’, Int. J. Chinese Culture and Management, Vol. X, No. Y, pp.000–000. Biographical notes: Ilan Alon is Harvard Kennedy School Visiting Scholar and Asia Fellow, and Rollins College Petters Chair of International Business and Executive Director of Rollins China Center. He has published 20 books (two authored), over 100 peer-reviewed articles and chapters. His four recent books on China include Chinese Culture, Organizational Behavior and International Business Management (Greenwood, 2003), Chinese Economic Transition and International Marketing Strategy (Greenwood, 2003), Business and Management Education in China: Transition, Pedagogy and Training (World Scientific, 2005), and The Globalization of Chinese Enterprises (Palgrave-McMillan, 2008).
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I. Alon, M. Fetscherin and M. Sardy
Marc Fetscherin holds two Master’s degrees, one from HEC Lausanne, Switzerland; the other from the London School of Economics (LSE), UK. He received his PhD from the University of Bern, Switzerland. Currently he is an Assistant Professor of the Crummer Graduate School of Business and the International Business Department at Rollins College as well as an Associate of the Rollins China Center. He is also a Visiting Scholar and Asia Fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School. He has over 70 publications. Marc Sardy holds a PhD from the Judge Business School at the University of Cambridge, UK and a Master’s degree in Statistics from Bernard Baruch College. He is currently and Associate Professor of International Business and Finance at Rollins College as well as an Associate of the Rollins College China Center. He is also a regular Visiting Professor at EM Lyon, France.
Geely Motors, from Zhejiang Province, is a large regional manufacturing conglomerate (Exhibit 1 in Appendix A). Early in its history it produced primarily motorcycles, scooters, engines and vehicles. As it grew the company added an...