According to chairman and founder Li Shufu, the goal is to launch sales in Puerto Rico, then move to the 50 States, probably sometime in late-2007 or early 2008. It won’t be easy. The car on display in Cobo Hall falls short of American emissions and safety standards and will have to be redesigned – by Geely’s mostly U.S.-trained engineers. Then it will need to set up a viable dealer distribution network, stressed John Harmer, the new CEO of Geely-USA. Even the anticipated $10,000 price tag won’t ensure success, Harmer acknowledged. Americans expect solid quality and reliability. There are also potential political issues, Harmer recognized. In the face of a fast-growing trade deficit, U.S.officials have been pressing the Chinese to revalue their currency. But that could bump up the projected price of a Geely. Barring such setbacks, Geely is hoping to sell as many as 25,000 cars during its first year in the U.S., and increase sales to 100,000 annually within five year.
The automaker is just one of several eying the American market. Shortly before Geely’s planned debut, long-time auto entrepreneur Malcolm Bricklin hopes to launch a venture of his own, importing an array of products produced by China’s Chery Motors.
Mitsu Eclipse Spyder Bows; Concept-CT Too
The Mitsu Eclipse coupe is being joined by a convertible version that will be sold as a 2007 model. The convertible will offer 2+2 seating and a choice of GS or GT trim levels; four- and six-cylinder engines are expected, and a 650-watt Rockford Fosgate sound system will be an option.
Alongside the Eclipse Spyder on the Detroit
show floor was the Concept-CT. A B-car concept conceived as a city vehicle with green technology, the vehicle will sport a hybrid powertrain that uses electric motors at each wheel to deliver all-wheel drive. The concept was penned at the company's Cypress , Calif.
, design studio.
Mazda CX-7 Starts from $23,750
Shown last week at the Los Angeles auto show in showroom-ready form, the Mazda CX-7 has been officially priced at the Detroitauto show this week. The new crossover vehicle will start from $23,750, Mazda officials said in a release, for the front-wheel-drive Sport model. The five-seat crossover vehicle is based on the Mazda6 sedan platform and will be offered in three trims levels—Sport, Touring and Grand Touring—all powered by a 244-hp, 2.3-liter turbo four-cylinder engine. Mazda says standard equipment includes air conditioning, power windows/locks/mirrors, cruise control, and dual front and side airbags. Anti-lock brakes, stability and traction control are also found on each CX-7. The new crossover vehicle goes on sale in the spring as a 2007 model.
Scion Releases xB 3.0
Toyota’s Scion division is planning another special edition based on its popular xB five-door wagon. The boxy xB gets tweaked into becoming the Release Series 3.0 with a batch of cosmetic changes including Envy Green exterior paint, a rear spoiler and a new Aero Speedgrille, which subtly alters the xB’s blocky front-end appearance. Inside the 3.0 sports a DVD audio/video receiver with better speakers and an input jack for MP3 players, as well as standard XM satellite radio. A dual rear-seat entertainment system is mounted in the headrests, with wireless headphones supplied. The xB Release Series 3.0 also comes with a security system, all for a base price of $16,340. Scion says only 2200 copies will be offered for sale, starting next month.