You probably haven’t heard of the Chinese car brands Emgrand, Gleagle and Englon, so I’m guessing the news that this trio is for the chopper isn’t going to distress you much. Not like a potential disappearance of Morgan, Porsche or Bentley, anyway.
Emgrand, Gleagle and Englon are all owned by Geely, the go-ahead Chinese group that bought Volvo from Ford for $1.2billion four years ago, but the company’s founder and boss, Li Shufu, has decided (with the help of customers voting with their feet) that having too many brands is counterproductive. Especially when the names sound funny.
Li Shufu, 50, is a highly commercially minded character. As a young man he started making and selling refrigerators, having recognised, early on, fast-growing demand from Chinese households. Seventeen years ago he moved to cars and today he employs more than 12,000 people and makes half a million cars a year, not including Volvo.
Seems Gleagle, in particular, failed to excite the punters: according to one report, respondents to research reckoned it sounded “goofy”. Only Geely and Volvo will survive as nameplates on the group’s future cars - a decision strikes me as further evidence that Geely is bound for the big time, beyond China as well as on the domestic market