PARIS -- Geely's GC9, the Chinese brand's flagship sedan set to debut at the Guangzhou auto show next month, is being touted as the first Geely developed under the design auspices of Peter Horbury.
But that's not entirely true, says the ex-Ford and Volvo design ace, who took over Geely's styling department in 2011. Geely and Volvo both are brands of China's Zhejiang Geely Holding Group.
Horbury was interviewed at the Paris auto show this month.
Q: Have we seen a Geely with your name on it?
A: It's as always. When you join a company, you come near the end of something, part way through something, near the beginning of something. It's an ongoing process. So you join in and say, "OK, I probably can't affect that one because its on its way into the dealerships. But this one's still got a year to go, maybe there is some correction needed."
Geely previously didn't have a professional designer for themselves. It depended on outside companies, which is why there is no cohesive identity. Brand was secondary.
How much of the GC9 is yours?
I picked it up as a clay model, and it needed some finishing, let's say. We completely redesigned the front, which was a bit of a smorgasbord of ideas. So we very quickly created a look that we passed on to the next cars -- which I have had more input on. On some, we've done the whole clay model in three months, so not a lot of maturation time. It's get it done, get it out. Now, we're doing cars in proper timetables, so we do have time to think and do a professional job.
Are you happy with the car?
I think the GC9 will do well. It's a big car. We showed the concept version a year and a half ago in Shanghai. The production car will be launched in Guangzhou in November. So my first Peter Horbury-effective Geely will be the GC9, then the next ones will be more under my regime, so to say.