SHANGHAI -- Li Shufu, chairman of Geely Automobile Holdings Group, has a new plan to export cars to the United States.
He no longer wants to adapt his current line of budget cars. Instead, he is hiring outside help to develop a car especially for the United States and Europe. He plans to build a plant to assemble them.
John Harmer, former COO of Geely USA Inc., said: "Six weeks ago, Li said, 'Put everything else on the back burner and find $400 million to build the plant.' " Harmer now is a consultant to Geely.
Geely was aiming to start exports to the United States in 2008. But when Geely cars will hit the United States is now uncertain.
"Everything else is just in limbo," says Harmer of his strategy to help Geely's budget models meet U.S. standards, hire eight employees and hire a public relations firm to convince consumers that a Chinese company could build a high-quality car.
Also in limbo is Geely's original plan for sticker prices starting at $10,000.
Harmer, a Salt Lake City lawyer, is contacting potential investors to fund the plant construction. He says several are "standing in line."
Geely currently has no plans to hire a replacement COO, says Harmer.