Zhejiang Geely Holding Group is planning to set up a separate unit to explore product development, marketing and sales of electric cars, Reuters reported citing people familiar with the matter.
The company will establish an independent subsidiary, Lingling Technologies, this year to develop and manage models based on its open-source EV chassis base, according to Reuters, with the move being a break from a tradition whereby electric cars are marketed and sold alongside traditional cars.
Geely’s EV chassis base, announced in September and named Sustainable Experience Architecture (SEA), is an 18 billion yuan ($2.7 billion) EV-focused platform that relies on the use of aluminum to make vehicles lighter and a front steering system for steady driving.
The new unit, which has yet to be registered, is set to also take over marketing and sales of SEA-based electric car models under its Lynk & Co and Geometry brands. It will also conduct market research differently from conventional vehicle divisions to develop and sell EV models, the sources added.
Pandaily has reached out to Geely for comment.
Geely, which owns Volvo and a 9.7% stake in Mercedes-Benz parent Daimler, is China’s largest private automaker by sales. The Hangzhou-based firm sold more than 1.32 million vehicles – 10 million globally – last year.
The automaker last month announced various strategic collaborations with tech giants including Tencent and Baidu in a push to transform itself from a traditional manufacturer to a leader in the auto-tech industry focusing on electrified mobility.
Areas of strategic cooperation between Geely and Tencent include developing next-generation intelligent vehicle cockpits, new mobile and mobility service applications and exploring autonomous driving systems.
As part of a deal to set up an intelligent EV company with Baidu, Geely will provide engineering capabilities and the new passenger vehicle will be produced at Geely’s factories. It has been reported that Xia Yiping, the co-founder of bike-sharing firm Mobike, will be appointed as chief executive of the new electric car company.
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Geely also announced it would form a separate venture with Apple iPhone supplier Foxconn to provide car production, consulting, intelligent driving systems and other services to global automakers.