By on September 13, 2010

Now that Geely has bought Volvo, their founder and chairman Li Shufu is seeking a new challenge. He’s going virtual.

Geely plans to sell cars specially designed for Internet sales at Alibaba, China’s biggest online marketplace, reports state news agency Xinhua.

“If you don’t try, you will never know if it will work or not,” Li told Xinhua on the sidelines of an Internet forum that opened in east China’s Hangzhou City.

Geely wants to offer an online edition of Geely Panda, a micro car popular among China’s young white collar workers. Despite being online, buyers will be able to bring it to their friendly Geely dealer for service.

Xinhua can’t help to add that “even in the United States, GM’s experiment selling cars on eBay in California has met with difficulties. Only 45 sales were logged in the program’s first nine days.”

It also doesn’t help that Alibaba is more a B2B platform, heavily populated by agents who try to hawk products they don’t have. Amongst insiders, it is called “Alibaba and the 40 thieves.” My Beijing blogging buddy Tycho has an uproarious series on his The Tycho car blog, called “Alibaba’s Treasures.” The site to visit when you need a good laugh.

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7 Comments on “Geely Joins Alibaba’s Treasures...”

  • avatar
    Educator(of teachers)Dan

    ‘Bout time somebody tried it.  Now choosing a shady partner doesn’t help things.
    I wonder how customizeable it will be?  Will it be like ordering a computer online from one of the big companies?  That’s the way I’ve always wanted new car buying to be.

  • avatar

    Call me crazy, but I think that car buying should work like this:
    1. Take a no obligation test drive at a factory owned facility in your area.
    2. Go online to an Amazon-like marketplace and compare exact cost down to the last cent. Buy online directly from manufacturer.
    3. Pick-up built to order car from manufacture facility, or opt for delivery at your house/work.

    • 0 avatar

      I agree, but a few complications are:

      1. Trade-in – Someone has to independently evaluate your trade.  This service could be performed by people licensed in a way similar to accountants.

      2. Training – The new owner may need a tutorial on how to use the controls and features.  Maybe the deliveryman could do it, but dealers will argue they know better.

      3. Dealer-installed options – Factories delegate some of these services today so they don’t have to manage them.  Mud flaps, floormats, stripes (do they still do that?), some radios, wheel covers, cleanup, etc. would all need some management.

  • avatar

    The car in the photo really makes me laugh! Reminds me of a car a Shriner drives in a parade.

    Perhaps some cars could revert back to the old ways of doing things like: Ordering a chassis and then contracting with a coach builder for the body style (pillarless hardtop, convertible, sedan, etc). All current safety and emissions laws would apply, of course. Figuring out how to make this affordable is another challenge, however.

    I like redliner’s idea!

  • avatar

    Is that little orange roadster a current model for sale?

    • 0 avatar

      Sure. You can buy it in China. If you buy decent quantities, I can arrange the deal. We do that for a living.


      Electric Car
      FOB Price:US $5,288 – 5,488
      Supply Ability:30 Piece/Pieces per Month
      Type: Sedan
      Fuel: Electric
      Gear Box: Automatic
      Made In: China
      Packaging Detail: standard export packing
      Delivery Detail: 30-35days

      Newly developed fuel-efficient, energy saving vehicle
      Material: fiber glass
      Dimensions (mm)(L—W—H): 3400—1480—1150
      Seats: 4
      Distance per charge (full load): 100-80 km
      Max speed (km/h): 50
      Min. turning diameter: 7.2
      Max climbing capability (full load): 15%
      Wheel base (mm): 2120
      Tread (mm): 1225
      Storage battery: 48V/150Ah
      Motor: 3kw
      Charger: 48V/20Ah
      Charge time: 6-12h
      N.W.: 630 kg with battery
      Breaking distance:(speed 30km/h): 4m
      Colors: Black, Blue, Yellow, Red, Green, White, Orange
      Container: 2pcs/20’FCL; 6pcs/40’FCL

      It’s not a Tesla (but you can buy a whole fleet for the price of a Tesla Roadster). It would make for a nice neighborhood electric vehicle.

      How many containers do you want?

  • avatar

    Dang, that looks like a car from “The Grinch”

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