Reuters said the unfinalised plans for Proton are one part of a Geely project to revamp factories at home and abroad using joint platforms it has been developing with Volvo since 2013 after buying the brand 10 years ago for US$1.8bn.
Senior Geely officials and engineers told Reuters that a project dubbed Compact Modular Architecture (CMA ) would allow them to develop, design and build different types of compact cars with similar mechanical layout faster than before – and at lower cost.
They said CMA , along with a platform for smaller cars known as B-segment Modular Architecture (BMA) that Geely plans to roll out for Proton , allowed them to combine the Swedish automaker’s technology with Geely capability in cost control, supply chain management and local production.
“CMA will be the core of Geely’s future architecture design … We learn technologies and build up talents through developing it,” Li Li , vice president at Geely Automobile Research Institute, told Reuters during an interview in Japan. He declined to disclose details of general investment, financial targets or a timetable for expansion plans.
The news agency noted Geely began as a maker of refrigerator parts but now sells over 2m cars a year across all brands, ranking it not far from the world’s top 10 automakers by unit sales.
The CMA platform in particular will allow Geely and Volvo to design vehicles more quickly and cost-effectively, Li told Reuters , providing a technological springboard towards a higher market share at a time when the auto industry must embrace a future featuring electric and autonomously driven transport.
Reuters said Hangzhou-based Geely was now holding talks to merge the Volvo Cars business with its Hong Kong-listed Geely Automobile – worth about US$22bn by market value, more than Fiat Chrysler Automobile and Nissan Motor.
Li , a former Ford engineer, told Reuters the automaker plans to develop all its future models for the Geely and Lynk & Co brands on CMA or other related product platforms, like BMA and is also developing a new architecture to accelerate the launch of pure battery electric vehicles with intelligent connectivity.
It also wants to shift development of next generations of some popular existing models, like Borui and Emgrand sedans, to those architectures. It takes around 18 months for Geely to significantly change a CMA -based car, versus 24-30 months to do so on a non-CMA -based model.
Using CMA , plant managers can switch production of different models to maintain smooth overall capacity utilisation rates at production lines, Oskar Falk, the Volvo -trained head at Geely and Volvo ‘s first joint production site in Taizhou, told Reuters .