Johannesburg - Geely South Africa is at an advanced stage of negotiations with Geely International for the Chinese car maker to invest in the marque’s operations in South Africa.

The company’s local import and distribution operations are 50 percent owned by the Hallmark Motor Group, which is owned by Cargo Carriers. The remainder is owned by Dakar Motor Corporation, which is controlled by Rayhaan Hassim of Aucor auctioneering group.

Peter Azzie, the managing director of Hallmark, which owns and operates a network of dealerships for other vehicle marques, said on Friday that a deal for Geely International to invest in South Africa was expected to be concluded later this year.

He admitted Geely had a chequered history here, with the original importer going into liquidation in 2009. But he said an investment by Geely International would be a catalyst for the Chinese vehicle marque to move to a new level in South Africa.

He said Geely achieved sales of 1 000 to 2 000 units last year but stressed it imported, distributed and sold only three Geely models into the local market.

Azzie said an investment by Geely International would result in the expansion of the model range in the domestic market and improve consumer perceptions of the brand.

He said consumer perceptions of Geely would also improve by it having a solid import and distribution operation that was in the country to stay and offered good value cars that could stand the test of time and do the job they were bought for beyond their perceived value.

Geely SA planned to sell about 1 500 cars into the country’s market this year but Azzie stressed the domestic new vehicle market was taking strain.

He said the cars were sold through a network of 35 multi franchise dealers, which sold the DFSK bakkie while some dealerships had also twinned with Mahindra. - Business Report