Geely, from Borisov, drives to market
First batch of Belarusian-Chinese passenger cars goes on sale
By Yury Chernyakevich
According to the official representative of BelJi — a Belarusian-Chinese enterprise assembling passenger cars — the first Belarusian-Chinese vehicles have already found customers and, although not many Geely SC7s have gone on sale, the company plans to enlarge its production capacities, improving its car assembly. So far, classic black and grey colours have been produced but the range is to be extended with time. A middle class sedan is being sold for around $13,000.
BelJi was established in late December 2011, followed by an investment agreement signed with Chinese Geely in March 2012. The Chinese partner is rapidly developing, already among China’s top five car companies, manufacturing 600,000 vehicles annually, including assembly in Australia. Geely holds shares in Volvo and has promising plans for liaison in this direction.
BelJi Director Dmitry Batrakov notes that the launch of passenger car assembly in Borisov is the first stage in the Belarusian-Chinese project. This September, construction of a new car assembly facility will begin, at Minsk FEZ (located between Borisov and Zhodino, near the village of Peresady). The next stage will focus on assembly of components, as well as case welding and painting, employing around 3,000 people, producing 100-120 thousand cars each year.
BelJi’s official dealer, Avtotorgservice JSC, has signed an agreement to sell the Belarusian-Chinese passenger cars. Its director, Gennady Zhurok, notes that over a dozen cars were sold within a couple of days. “Individuals and firms alike have been buying cars. I want to stress that Agrotorgservice offers servicing and maintenance of BelJi-assembled passenger cars,” he adds. So far, the company (part of the Industry Ministry) is the sole dealer for Geely cars but, according to Mr. Batrakov, BelJi plans to further expand its network of dealerships over the coming year to cover every regional centre.
BelJi is leasing premises at Borisov’s Avtogidrousilitel JSC, its facility manufacturing up to 10,000 cars a year. Tests are being conducted, with about 60 personnel employed, but the number will grow in time. BelJi was founded by BelAZ, Chinese Geely and a joint Belarusian-Chinese company specialising in production of car components: Souyzavtotechnologies. After mastering the local market, Belarus-made Geely cars are to be exported through the Customs Union states of Kazakhstan and Russia.