By Theodore Opara
IT is no longer news that Geely Automobile has returned to Nigeria, what is news is that Geely has rolled out models that can rival world renowned brands from Korean, Japan, Europe and America.
The two new models, Geely EC7 Sedan and Geely X7 Sport utility vehicles introduced into the Nigerian market recently, which were also assembled in the country by Mikano Motors, is a pointer to the fact that Geely’s relationship with renowned automakers like Volvo and Lotus, have launched the Chinese brand into the pinnacle of the automobile world.
With a logo that looks much like that of the renowned American brand, Escalade, Geely left the Nigerian journalists who filed out to test-drive the locally-made models wondering if the cars were truly Geely vehicles.
The designs, performance and comfort level of these Geely models were exceptionally outstanding as Mikano-trained drivers took them on a ride on the company’s test tracks.
They also did some stunts with the vehicles to the surprise of the journalists who wondered if the vehicles were just normal cars or performance vehicles. But the Mikano drivers who have been trained to carry out these tests were quite confident of the vehicles they were putting to the test.
One of the drivers who wouldn’t like to be quoted told Vanguard: “I know the machine I am driving (referring to the Geely EC7 Sedan). It can do more than what you are seeing. But I don’t want the journalists to express fears, that is why I am being cautious and limiting myself with what the car can do.”
Though a Chinese brand, the Geely vehicles have recorded top scores in European Car Assessment Programme, EURONCap. It should be recalled that Geely, via its acquisition of top European brands like Volvo and Lotus produce its vehicles in line with European standards.
This, no doubt, has built the confidence of Mikano in settling for the brand in Nigeria, having built a reputation in the power, steel and medical sectors.
With the experience in these sectors, Mikano knows what Nigerians want in making their choice of automobiles which include quality, durability, good design and affordability.
All these, the Sales Manager, Mr. Everistus Eze, said have been taken care of in making the choice of their franchise for the brand.
He said: “To ensure that our customers enjoy their cars with peace of mind, we have covered the entire landscape of Nigeria with various aftersales service centres. So no customer would ever complain of inadequate parts or unqualified technicians to handle their Geely cars no matter where they reside in the country.
“We have 3s (showroom, service centre and spare parts) and 2s (showroom and service centre) locations all over Nigeria. The centres are equipped with modern tools to ensure effective after-sales services to our customers.
“Through our appointed dealership across the country, Geely automobile brand’s spare parts are now available nationwide. While we are still appointing more dealers to ensure that our parts are available to every location in Nigeria, we are making servicing parts available via various accredited channels to avoid the incident of fake parts.”
On what stands out the Geely EC7 Sedan, he said: “The Geely EC7 is powered by 1.5-litre engine. The locally assembled Geely EC7 Sedan comes with a load of safety features, some of which are seatbelt reminder, an overspeeding alarm device, an anti-theft alarm device, hand brake unreleased reminder, (anti-lock brake system + electronic brakeforce distribution, EBD, reversing visual system, door child safety lock, collision safety fuel cut system, speed-sensitive automatic door locking system, explosion-proof leakproof plastic fuel tank, etc.
“Even as a compact sedan, Geely equipped the car with cruise control, remote central locking, keyless entry-driver side, head restraints, air conditioning system and infotainment. The Geely EC7 can aptly be described as a compact luxury sedan.”
The Geely flagship in Nigeria, the X7 SUV is an outstanding compact SUV. Also assembled in Nigeria, the Geely X7, a crossover, is powered by a naturally-aspirated 2.4 litre engine, which puts out 150bhp at 5,300rpm and some 225Nm (Newton meters).
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Equipped with airbags, occupants of the car are also protected with ISOFIX child seat anchorage points, door child safety lock, TPMS (tyre pressure monitoring system), explosion-proof leak-proof plastic fuel tank, speed-sensitive automatic door locking system, anti-pinch function (all four windows) and air filtration purification device.
The Geely X7 also comes with Internal light delay function, panoramic sunroof, cruise control, remote central locking, keyless entry, mobile mapping central screen, Bluetooth hands-free device, LCD Trim computer, multi-function steering wheel (with entertainment +cruise switch), anti-theft protection, electronic control and alarm system, active safety functions and reversing radar system.
To make the brand the preferred choice of Nigerians, Mr. Eze said: “Taking cognisance of affordability problem, which has trailed made-in-Nigeria vehicles over the years, Mikano, a company which employs over 2000 Nigerians, is already working out friendly auto finance to take care of this challenge.
It is also putting together plans to roll out autogas vehicles and electric cars as soon as the Nigerian government create necessary enabling environment, especially legal backing that would protect local assemblers against imported junks that are taking the chunks of the nation’s automotive market share.
“The Nigerian auto industry shall effectively compete in the entire African automobile market if the right policies are made by the government,” Mr. Eze assured.
For over 27 years, Mikano has been providing premium quality products to the Nigeria market, by building global strategic alliances with the world’s largest manufacturers.