A new Geely compact SUV, expected to be the Chinese company’s first vehicle to launch in the European market, has been spotted testing in the Alps.
The heavily disguised prototype of the as-yet unnamed model is tellingly registered in Sweden, showing its links with Volvo.
Geely has owned Volvo since 2010, and has previously said that it wants to introduce a new brand – codenamed ‘L’ – in Europe, as a more budget-focused sister to the Swedish marque. This new compact SUV could be the first vehicle to represent that new brand.
Geely has worked with Volvo to create a new vehicle architecture called Compact Modular Architecture (CMA) platform, which will underpin the forthcoming Volvo XC40, and this new Geely compact SUV will share the same basis.
The CMA platform is itself based on a Ford design that was acquired by Volvo in 2010. Its usage is due to Geely’s desire to expand into Europe and the US following sluggish demand in the Chinese market.
Although this prototype is heavily disguised, we do know that the new Geely will boast European-style design from former Volvo designer Peter Horbury, now Geely’s senior vice president of design, who has a studio in Gothenburg. There are other Geely design studios in Barcelona, Los Angeles and Shanghai.
Having said that, expect it to have elements of Chinese design too, as seen on the new China-only Geely Emgrand GS, which was unveiled at the Beijing Motor Show in May.
In terms of engines, Geelys are tipped to be powered by a range of turbocharged three-cylinder units that have been developed in collaboration with Volvo for use in both marques' cars.