Workers assemble cars at a Geely factory that will soon produce Volvo models. The collaboration will also result in jointly-developed products.

Geely, which bought Volvo Cars in 2010, is developing a new model in collaboration with its Swedish subsidiary, with home-market release planned for 2015, to be followed by a South African launch once exports take off.

Geely CEO Gui Sheng Yue said the car would be based on a new modular architecture that would underpin C-segment models from both automakers, and that the private automaker had entered the research and development stage.

COST SAVINGS

The new Volvo/Geely joint-venture development, he added, would be smaller than Volvo's Scalable Platform Architecture and was expected to deliver “considerable cost savings in terms of development, testing and sourcing”.

Geely chairman Li Shufu has previously been quoted as saying the sharing of knowledge and technology had to be without jeopardising brand integrity and individual product development, although Geely was hoping that Volvo's reputation for safety and reliability would help burnish the Chinese automaker's image as it tried to become the country's largest vehicle exporter.

Volvo has already begun test runs at a new plant in China, part of an ambitious plan to double sales to 800 000 cars a year by the end of the decade.