What is the secret behind the rapid growth, Hans Oscarsson, CEO Geely Sweden?
“First of all, Geely and Volvo turned out to be a perfect match on many fronts. Both Volvo and Geely are born out of a de-centralized ownership philosophy where the individual best suited should make the strategic decisions and have the mandate to act forcefully. This means that the boards and managements, the people that really have a passion for automotive, and the separate brands, can act quickly and that has been positive for growth.”
You were CFO at Volvo Cars when Geely took over. What has Geely contributed to Volvo Cars – and vice versa?
“With Geely, the door to China was opened in earnest for Volvo, which was crucial since Volvo needed to quickly build a global production system. Speed, curiosity, and long-term commitment are things Geely has brought. Gothenburg and Volvo have contributed solid car-building competence, engineering know-how, a strong entrepreneurial spirit and a high level of innovation.”
Geely is investing heavily in companies and infrastructure for electrical mobility. How is that conversion coming along?
“The conversion to fossil-free operation is challenging, but one should not over-dramatize the actual issue of implementation. In the automotive industry, we operate in a rapidly changing technological environment that we need to relate to. Electrical powertrains have been in focus for a long time. The big difference now is the need to move faster and that larger investments are needed.”
How does the plan for electrification look?
“We have the technological know-how, the financial muscles, an agile organization and see a continued large global potential for our brands.”
How does the drawn-out pandemic, the war in the Ukraine and component short-ages affect the future development of the Geely companies?
“Those are all factors that affect us and that we need to address. But we have a big advantage right now in our ownership structure which is both extremely long-term while also very quick-footed. That means that we stand well equipped to meet both rapid electrification and different external factors beyond our control.”
Zhejiang Geely Holding Group
Geely, a privately owned Chinese company, was founded 1986 by Li Shufu. Automotive production started 1992, and the company has since grown rapidly with several automotive and technology companies in China with Geely Automobile at the helm. European acquisitions include Volvo Cars, and large ownership stakes in Volvo AB and Daimler, which owns Mercedes.
Geely Sweden Holdings consist of the stock-listed Volvo Cars (82%), Volvo AB (where Geely is the second largest owner with 8% of the shares), Polestar, Lynk & Co and Saxo Bank
Text: Sven-E Lindberg
Image: The Geely Group
The text was originally published in Gothenburg Magazine 2022